Ken Waxman pairs two recent releases to write his careful and colorful thoughts for the Canadian JAZZ WORD magazine. One of those is JOHN EDWARDS & DIRK SERRIES’ Melancholia CD, the other one is GEORGE HADOW & DIRK SERRIES’ Chapel CD (released on Creative Sources).
Melancholia is still available here and here.
“During two almost evenly timed tracks on Melancholia, the string duo negates the concept of dedicated soloist or accompanist. Aggressive strums from the guitarist add as much to the tunes’ percussive bottom as the bassist’s stops and thumps. At the same time, Edwards’ agile buzzes, authoritative sweeps and rattling slides, played arco or pizzicato, are as much a part of the foreground as Serries’ slurred fingering or jagged string plinks near the tuning pegs and below the bridge. With broken octave concordance paramount, the two mostly operate in double counterpoint. Still there are sequences where they break ranks for individual expression such as Edwards’ use of col legno pops or pressurized sul tasto rubs on “II” or Serries’ scratches on the same track that are so forceful that it appears they could remove the strings’ finish. Paced with quiet interludes, each track retains a horizontal flow. Eventually the program finishes with plucks and sweeps juddering back and forth between the two string sets until they combine for a dual climactic vibration.”