This is Kait Dunton's second release, the first of which garnered rather impressive review from rather impressive crits and rather educated others. Mountain Suite has managed to attract some daunting musical characters, Peter Erskine and Bob Mintzer among them, and though much is said and written about Dunton's lead voice wielding an acoustic piano with a well considered spare hand, leaving plenty of room for the mind and spirit to settle in and reflect, her real charm lies in accompaniment and compositional skills. Listen to Night, to my mind the centerpiece of the CD, and this becomes abundantly apparent.
In that cut, the pianist never treads to center stage even once because she doesn't have to, her background lines are everything, creating a sea and sky of generative imagery over which Mintzer and Bob Daversa wheel and glide, a blend of leashed energies caught and contrasted by the John Abercrombie-esque balladics Dunton's evoking. If the horns are gulls in the tableau, Erskine conjures a bevy of sandpipers skittering on the shore as gentle waves wash and recess. It matters not that it's late in the evening or that such birds aren't normally up and about then, 'cause if you've walked the lonely Pacific shores at midnight as I have many times, you know some do, and this songs captures those very private moments perfectly, making them all yours again…or maybe for the first time.
That kind of mood predominates in this highly ECM / Windham Hill release, a good deal of the famed Nordic austerity that first imprint is famed for making its way throughout the tracks. The most consistently interesting aspect, though, as said, is that rock solid presence of Dunton's gently irresistable hand in everything. When she does step to the lip of the stage, though, as in Return, the rich chordal darkness gives way to élan as the horns trade places, allowing her the frolics they enjoyed in other cuts. More, Kait Dunton's young, still working through her education, and I suspect, two or three releases from now, we'll really see the full scope of what she has to offer.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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