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Driff Records 2203, 2022

Jeb Bishop | trombone
Pandelis Karayorgis | piano
Damon Smith | bass


Jeb Bishop | trombone
Damon Smith | bass

1. Caltrop 4:50
2. Parsnip 5:36
3. Protocol 5:34
4. Photo Op 6:09
5. Blecher 4:52
6. Uni Device 5:47
7. Wageningen 6:16
8. Pestalozzi 7:04
9. School Device 7:00

Total Time 53:08

All tracks by Jeb Bishop (BMI)/Damon Smith (BMI)

Recorded October 13th 2021 by Jeb Bishop
Mixed and mastered by Weasel Walter

Pandelis Karayorgis | piano
Damon Smith | bass

1 Pennant 7:17
2 Ravine 5:12
3 Whistles 4:26
4 Lifgatowy 5:11
5 Procession 5:04
6 Entanglement 8:15
7 Extruded 3:27
8 Undertow 6:32
9 Mr Cook 4:24
10 Weft 5:07
11 Something Stirring Underfoot 1:48
12 Hommage 5:50

Total Time 62:32

Tracks 4, 6, 8-10 by Pandelis Karayorgis (Stray Line Publishing, ASCAP)
Tracks 1-3, 5, 7, 11, 12 by Damon Smith (BMI) / Pandelis Karayorgis (Stray Line Publishing, ASCAP)

Recorded May 19, 2022 by Pandelis Karayorgis
Mixed and mastered by Antonio Oliart
Jeb Bishop | trombone
Pandelis Karayorgis | piano

1 Scry 4:39
2 Slack Tide 5:30
3 Roil JB 4:43
4 Ledger 4:43
5 Never Ending 4:49
6 Redarrow 4:56
7 Razorlip 5:46
8 Summer 6:49
9 Ledge 6:16
10 Three 6:00
11 Ice 5:26
12 Roil PK 5:31

Total Time 64:58

Tracks 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12 by Pandelis Karayorgis (Stray Line Publishing, ASCAP)
Tracks 3, 7, 11 by Jeb Bishop (BMI)
Tracks 1, 6, 9 by Jeb Bishop (BMI)/Pandelis Karayorgis (Stray Line Publishing, ASCAP)

Recorded June 8, 2022 by Pandelis Karayorgis
Mixed and mastered by Antonio Oliart










Driff Records was formed in 2012 by pianist Pandelis Karayorgis and reeds/electronics player Jorrit Dijkstra, two European musicians who settled in Boston, Massachusetts, in order for each to have a stable release platform for their respective projects. Karayorgis appears on the three albums under consideration here. Each release highlights a particular aspect of his efforts to sustain a creative life in a town not particularly known for its friendliness to improvised music.

Boston's creative jazz scene is small, so when a new musician appears, their impact is felt. Trombonist Jeb Bishop and bassist Damon Smith have both come and gone, and Duals spotlights the virtues they brought to the scene. It’s a triple CD of duets by the three duos possible when you add Karayorgis to their number. While the balance between composition and improvisation varies from duo to duo, the players’ instincts and personalities come to the fore. Bishop brings loves for melody, sound effects, and a lot of heart; Karayorgis articulates complex structures with maximum clarity; Smith brings stern conviction and chops to match, demanding the most of his partners. This music is tough, smart, and sugar-free.
Bill Meyer, The Wire - February 2023 (Issue 468)

American-Greek, Boston-based pianist Pandelis Karayorgis is also the co-founder of Driff Records, with another ex-pat, Dutch sax player Jorrit Dijkstra. His recent releases document the vibrant free music scene of Boston.

Duals is a 3-CD set, with each disc containing a duo session between three long-time comrades – Karayorgis, trombonist Jeb Bishop and double bass player Damon Smith. The first one is between Bishop and Smith, the second one is between pianist Karayorgis and Smith, and the third one is between Karayorgis and Bishop. These duos were recorded between October 2021 to June 2022, during Bishop’s last year of residency in Boston (that began in 2016) and soon after Smith had moved to St. Louis.

Bishop, Karayorgis and Smith are experienced, idiosyncratic improvisers, equipped with highly personal and inventive, extended techniques, and have crossed paths frequently with each other in the past. All three duos offer conversational dynamics but each one stresses their strong individual personalities. Bishop sketches brief melodic ideas and smart, playful games, and often sings and speaks with the trombone, and his duo with Smith is completely freely improvised. Smith opts for cryptic, unpredictable textures, and always challenges his partners with his restless, powerful playing, never settling on familiar patterns. Karayorgis articulates complex and nuanced structures, often clearly rooted in the jazz legacy, and his duets with Smith and Bishop alternate between the contemplative and introspective and the urgent and intense, with his original compositions alongside free improvisations. The duo of Karayorgis and Bishop is the most impressive and poetic one, enjoying their profound affinity and their gift to suggest well-crafted, intriguing, melodic structures, even within free improvisations.
Eyal Hareuveni, February 19, 2023 (link)

The Jeopardy answer is "three to the power of 2." If you buzzed in fast enough with "what is the album Duals"? You would be correct. The three musicians, trombonist Jeb Bishop, bassist Damon Smith, and pianist Pandelis Karayorgis recorded these 33 duos in Boston between the fall of 2021 and the summer of 2022. While we promised there would be no math, the equation 'three to the power of 2' actually equals three separate discs each with duo combinations of trombone-bass, piano-bass, and piano-trombone.

Disc one features the collaboration between Bishop's trombone and Smith's bass. The pair have recorded together in a free improvisation quartet with cornetist Dan Clucas and drummer Matt Crane, plus JeJaWeDa, another quartet with drummer Weasel Walter and vocalist Jaap Blonk. Here they deliver nine improvised tracks. The music ranges from the raucous to the euphonious. Both musicians have the skills to instigate turbulence or deliver sounds in sotto voce. Together they find a balance with Bishop popping and growling on "Blecher" while Smith applies objects to his strings. A muted trombone "Pestalozzi" draws out Smith's bowed explorations of varying pitches and rumbles. More objects are thwacked on "School Device" as Smith manhandles his tone generating bass and Bishop translates his trombone's bluesy dialect.

The transition to piano and bass duets is also a change in style. Smith is a member of of the Pandelis Karayorgis Trio and also his Double Trio. The improvised music of disc one gives way to twelve composed tracks split between Smith and Karayorgis. Composed that is until the musicians blast off into the stratosphere of "Pennant" or chase each other randomly down the slippery slopes of "Whistles" where their entropy finds its own orderliness. Karayorgis' compositions are flavored with his fondness for the music of Thelonious Monk and Smith's writing points more towards chaos. Yet, his maelstrom must be classified as chamber turbulence of the finest sort.

Finally, the duo between Bishop and Karayorgis is a mixture of composed and improvised pieces. Both musicians are members of The Whammies, an ensemble dedicated to the music of Steve Lacy and also the avant big band Bathysphere. Their familiarity with each other's approach is quite apparent on the twelve tracks. The composed pieces are well, quite composed. Much like chamber music "Three," "Never Ending," and the beautifully sober "Ice" find the pair performing in a sympathetic unison. Bishop has the ability to transform his trombone into the most gentle instrument when he is required to accompany the hushed tones of Karayorgis. The hush is followed by the pianist's left hand stomp and the bleat of bone-on-keys rumble of "Roll PK" or the machine-like redundancy of "Razorlip." (4/5 stars)
Mark Corroto, February 19, 2023 (link)



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