"There’s a searching quality in the music of Scott DuBois and his Quartet. The same quality has been noted in descriptions of many forward-leaning musicians, including John Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders and their diverse followers. The idea of spiritual ascension through collective musical creation has been the catalyst for many breathtaking performances. Ultimately, this activity reflects the influence of communal music making in service to ceremony found in many ancient societies. The title of DuBois’ new recording Black Hawk Dance is apropos as it references the spirituality and vitality of the music and the Native American ceremonial tradition which inspired the name.
Native Americans believe in channeling spirits. Musicians do as well. Born in Illinois (home of the famed Sauk leader, Black Hawk), the New York-based guitarist DuBois channels the best of the modern jazz guitar tradition – John McLaughlin, Pat Martino, and Pat Metheny – along with the fiery trailblazers of the avant-garde. On Black Hawk Dance, DuBois enlists the same lineup of musicians featured on his memorable Sunnyside debut, Banshees. Saxophonist/bass clarinetist Gebhard Ullmann has been a prolific member of the global improvised music scene performing and recording with the likes of Lee Konitz, Han Bennink and Matt Wilson, among many others. Bassist Thomas Morgan has established himself as a highly demanded sideman with groups led by Paul Motian, Steve Coleman and John Abercrombie. Danish drummer Kresten Osgood has been a driving force behind the music of legends (Sam Rivers, Paul Bley and Dr. Lonnie Smith) and contemporaries (Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman and Kurt Rosenwinkel) on many recordings and tours.
On Black Hawk Dance, the Quartet expertly performs DuBois’ seven original compositions focusing on group interaction, dynamics and improvisation. The CD begins with the title composition; a tribal-like, tone poem that bends to the shifts of tempo and interplay between composed and improvised sections, followed by the open sky influenced, introspective ballad, “Illinois Procession Rain.” “Dust Celebration” displays the intensity that can flare while the band interacts in an improvisational throw down. “Isolate” is an extended ballad that crescendos over a long chord sequence while Morgan plays an extended free improvisation. “River Life” dances a pentatonic melody over a series of pedal points allowing the group to flow in and out of form and consonance. There is an intricate development and dissolution of mood on the lovely “Souls.” On the CD’s closer “Louis Frederic,” DuBois plays with distorted abandon as the group concludes with an intense collective improvisation.
As a modern improviser, who tours in the United States, Canada, and Europe, Scott DuBois’ unique guitar voice is the result of nearly two decades of hard work. Born in 1978, he moved from Illinois to New York in 1996, performed with Dave Liebman, Tony Malaby, and Chris Potter, and earned a Master’s of Music Degree from Manhattan School of Music. DuBois was also selected as a Semi-Finalist at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2005. His recordings as a leader include Monsoon (Soul Note, 2005), Tempest (Soul Note, 2007) and Banshees (Sunnyside 2008).
Black Hawk Dance is the latest aural illustration of Scott DuBois’ limitless talents as a guitarist, composer and improviser. It is a celebration in sound by a group that is always reaching higher plateaus and a modern musician with an endless vista."