Dave Burrell Full-Blown Trio | Expansion


1. Expansion
2. Double Heartbeat
3. Cryin' Out Loud

4. They Say It's Wonderful
5. About Face
6. In the Balance
7. Coup d'Etat

All compositions and arrangements by Dave Burrell (Lanikai Sounds Publishing Co., BMI), except #4 by Irving Berlin (Irving Berlin Music Co., ASCAP), arrangement by Dave Burrell.

Produced by Daniel Piotrowski with Dave Burrell and Mark Christman

Recorded by John Rosenberg at Systems Two, live to two-track, Dec. 2003 

Mastered by Flam at Mindswerve Studios, Jan. 2004

Cover panel photographs from the "West Philadelphia Suite" by Don Camp

Session photographs by Shawn Brackbill

Recorded during a one-day session in December 2003, Expansion captures the tectonic force realized by the trio on the band's then-recent fall 2003 tour, but also exposes the introspective sides of the musicians. Featuring a variety of pieces (the band locks into a tight 13/8 time as well as it goes free), Expansion highlights Burrell's iconoclastic composition style and well as his sensibility for the entire history of jazz.

Burrell penned six new pieces for the session that represent a broad approach to jazz composition. His dynamic range has resulted in a multi-faceted album that showcases his vast skill and style thru its many moods and motifs. The brilliance of the recording isn't just the variety, but how his kinship with Parker and Cyrille creates a seamless piece of art across the seven tracks.

The title track opens Expansion with Burrell playing stride piano in a composition based on augmented triads. The time shifts in and out 13/8, giving the piece a complex and eccentric elasticity that is extraordinary in modern jazz. For "Double Heartbeat", Cyrille puts away his cymbals, using only bass drum and toms. The effect is a deep pulsating conversation between Parker and Cyrille, which makes Burrell's crisp high notes sharp and dangerous. "Cryin' Out Loud" is a slow, mournful duet between Parker and Burrell. Burrell's spare notes gracefully match Parker's bowed bass, creating the lament for the current world political/military situation Burrell intended the piece to be.

After the darkness of "Cryin'," Burrell's warmer side appears with a crisp version of an Irving Berlin show tune, "They Say It's Wonderful." Burrell reinvents it with his avant-garde approach while retaining the song's spirit. "About Face" is another composition influenced by recent military conflict. The title is meant by Burrell to represent a turning away from war. Cyrille's martial beat coupled with the accelerating tempo of the performance creates an overwhelming pleas for peace using the language of warfare - it's a vision of soldiers running away from battle as fast as they rush in. You can't much further from the mindset of war than "In the Balance." Featuring Parker on kora (a West African harp), the trio creates a calming invocation, accented by Burrell's understated keyboard dance and the wash of cymbals by Cyrille's brushes. The title of the album's closer, "Coup d'Etat" is another allusion to conflict. This time, however, the track's joyous spontaneity represents a takeover of freedom and exaltation, rather of war and despair.