Free improvisation is as much an act of discovery as of creation. On their breathtaking debut the new Whit Dickey Trio shines their collective illumination into the heretofore unexplored darkness between them. The album teams the drummer with one of his most long-standing collaborators in saxophonist Rob Brown & for the first time with the young firebrand bassist Brandon Lopez, in what is certainly hoped will be an ongoing communion.
The light and the dark, intimate friends and fresh relations – these are a few of the dualities embodied by the new recording label, Tao Forms. This second release by the label continues the creative renaissance which drummer Whit Dickey embarked on with his stunning 2019 double-album by the Tao Quartets, a Yin and Yang pairing of two distinct ensembles.
Expanding Light is an exercise in going full-bore Yang. Dickey described the experience of recording with his new trio as “incessantly and mightily grabbing the dragon by the tail, and not caring.” In other words, losing oneself to intangible inspiration, wherever it may lead. The result maintains a visceral ferocity even at its most abstract moments, influenced as much by Nirvana at their finest as by the holistic experimentation of Dickey’s mentor, Professor Milford Graves. Of course, the Yin – the Expanding Light of the title – inevitably follows in the trio’s wake…
Dickey & Brown have worked together for over 30 years, forging an instinctual chemistry while still managing to surprise one another with a mutual penchant for risk-taking. Though Lopez was born a year before Dickey and Brown began playing together, he proved an ideal partner for the drummer in the low end of the Yang. Lopez has become a force on numerous NYC scenes in recent years, his relentless fervor and formidable power have led to collaborations in the realms of classical, jazz and experimental music with the likes of John Zorn, Tyshawn Sorey, Chris Potter, and the New York Philharmonic under Jaap van Zweden.
The Outer Edge
Whit Dickey – drums
Brandon Lopez – bass
Rob Brown – alto saxophone