AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Vance Provey Whit Dickey Spin Dunbar – 1983-Motifs 2023 [NHIC Records NHIC-017]

Forty years after it was recorded in a New York studio, the New Haven Improvisers Collective’s record label released this interesting, 1983 trumpet trio recording by trumpeter/composer Vance Provey, drummer Whit Dickey, and double bassist Spin Dunbar. This was a working trio that met when Dickey and Dunbar were students at Bennington College, where Provey was a resident artist and teaching assistant. The recording captured them at early stages in their creative lives. Provey is currently active in Connecticut, while Dickey went on to play with Matthew Shipp, Ivo Perelman, David S. Ware, and others. Dunbar, who had to give up music after an accident, is now a stained glass artist in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The chemistry binding the three together is apparent from this relatively short (ca. 30 minutes long) recording, which focuses on Provey’s motif-centered compositions. Each of the five motifs is organized by Provey’s melodic themes, mostly played in mid-register. Structurally, Provey alternates long tones with shorter bursts of notes, setting up a tension internal to the lead line; the lack of a harmony instrument allows him the freedom to develop the line in creative ways. Dunbar’s bass is placed in contrapuntal opposition to the trumpet; with the exception of the bowed drone tone that forms the foundation of Motif 1, Dunbar plays an energetic, agitated line that works in close cooperation with Dickey’s free-rhythms. On Motif 4 this group dynamic works out to a propulsive bass-and-drum attack on the one side, counterbalancing Provey’s long tones on the other; on the more reflective Motif 5, the trio’s restlessness is more widely dispersed throughout musical space. All told these are solid performances, happily rescued from obscurity.
Daniel Barbiero


Upcoming RUCMA Shows

From New York’s Rise Up Creative Music & Arts:

Monday, April 20

Beginning at 7:30PM
Interstellar Duos:
A Tribute to John Coltrane’s
Interstellar Space“!
3 Sax/Drums Duos!

Darius Jones alto sax
Jackson Krall drums

Ras Moshe tenor sax
Tyshawn Sorey drums

Ned Rothenberg alto sax
Samir Chatterjee tablas

*Special admission to this show will be $20/$10 for students and seniors

Monday, April 27

Whit Dickey/Rob Brown Duo
Whit Dickey drums
Rob Brown alto sax

Matt Mottel synthesizer
Kevin Shea drums

All Shows At:

The Local 269
269 East Houston
at the corner of Suffolk Street
F to Second Avenue

Admission: $10 per set / $15 for the night
Students/seniors: $7 per set / $12 for the night

For More Info:
tel: 212.254.5420

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Jazz Listings From the New York Times

From the Times:

MICHAEL MUSILLAMI TRIO + 3 (Saturday) Michael Musillami, a guitarist firmly entrenched in the contemporary avant-garde, unveils material from a forthcoming release, featuring not only his working trio but also the trumpeter Ralph Alessi, the multi-reedist Marty Ehrlich and the vibraphonist Matt Moran. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, West Village, (212) 989-9319,; cover, $10, with a one-drink minimum.

SEAN NOONAN (Monday) Mr. Noonan, a drummer and composer drawn to global fusions, celebrates the release of his new album, “Boxing Dreams” (Songlines), with some help from the guitarist Aram Bajakian and the bassist Tim Dahl. At 9:30 p.m., Joe’s Pub, at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, (212) 539-8778,; cover, $12 in advance; $15 at the door, with a two-drink minimum. (Chinen)

EIVIND OPSVIK OVERSEAS (Sunday) Eivind Opsvik is a bassist with an experimental streak but also a deep connection to melody, as he demonstrates with this working band, which includes Tony Malaby on tenor saxophone, Jacob Sacks on keyboards and Kenny Wollesen on drums. At 9:30 p.m., 55 Bar, 55 Christopher Street, West Village, (212) 929-9883,; cover, $10. (Chinen)

PETE ROBBINS (Sunday and Thursday) Mr. Robbins, an alto saxophonist, works with two different groups in the coming week, each an outlet for his progressive whims. On Sunday he leads Silent Z, an electro-acoustic band that includes Jesse Neuman on trumpet and electronics, Mike Gamble on guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. Then on Thursday he teams up with Mr. Sorey and the bassist Mario Pavone for a more freeform trio exchange. Sunday at 8:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, West Village, (212) 989-9319,; cover, $10, with a one-drink minimum. Thursday at 8 p.m., Dakar Café, 285 Grand Street, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, (718) 398-8900,; suggested donation, $5. (Chinen)

MATTHEW SHIPP TRIO (Tuesday) “Harmonic Disorder” (Thirsty Ear), an intriguing new album by Matthew Shipp, puts his shape-shifting pianism in contact with a rhythm section consisting of Joe Morris on bass and Whit Dickey on drums. They’re regrouping here to celebrate the album’s release. At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, Manhattan, (212) 576-2232,; cover, $20.

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