Utica Box unfolds. It requires patience. There’s a mood to build to and reward that building of tension. Dan Weiss is shooting for a lot of this with his latest release drumming alongside pianist Jacob Sacks and bassists Thomas Morgan and Eivind Opsvik. This group can fit these moods in standard length compositions like the compact shuffle,”Jamerson”, or its follow up, the jaunty “Rock and Heat”. But it’s in tunes like the title track opening up the album at 14 minutes, reeling the listener in slow before the hook catches and we’re fighting string and air. Lead single “Orange” is the same like of slow and steady build over eleven and a half minutes of Sacks’ angular chords massaging, mangling, and massaging even more.
“Please Don’t Leave” sounds as impassioned as the title suggests, making its emotional plea but seeming to lose the fight. Bombshell closer “Bonham” takes quite the various turns over the course of nearly sixteen minutes, like watching the slow changing of a desert sky at sunrise with just a hint of clouds to add to the color and landscape. The tune, a tribute to the Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, is the clear opportunity to Weiss to make a passionate closing statement.
The Dan Weiss Trio Plus 1 with their moods that grow and shape over time are what music is for. They’re arriving at ideas that feel concrete and fluid all at the same time. Weiss, as a leader, has always had a certitude in the ideas of his releases, and Utica Box is most certainly one of the most rewarding of patient listens from him.
Utica Box, the new album from the Dan Weiss Trio Plus 1, is out now on Sunnyside Records.
Jacob Sacks – piano
Thomas Morgan – bass
Eivind Opsvik – bass
Dan Weiss – drums
Nextbop Editor-in-Chief Anthony Dean-Harris hosts the modern jazz radio show, The Line-Up, Fridays at 9pm CST on 91.7 FM KRTU San Antonio and is also a contributing writer to DownBeat Magazine and the San Antonio Current.