[9/2/2001] CDNOW review of Sigame
Pianist-composer D.D. Jackson continues to craft diversely sourced, delightfully inventive music as he returns to his longtime Canadian label Justin Time for this outstanding trio set where he's backed by bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Dafnis Prieto (with guests Freddie Bryant on guitar and Christian Howes on violin).
Opening track "The Welcoming," a soulful, gospelized melody with a kinetic swing, frames Jackson's improvisations, which are always cannily constructed, with a creative edge of unpredictability. On "Cubano-Funk," an avant-garde opening of scrambled piano lines and random rhythm bears down into a driving beat, with Jackson's dynamic left hand pushing along a piston-like figure. "Le Shuffle," a '60s-styled soul-funk groove, is punctuated with a gorgeous seamless statement against a percolating rhythm section, Bryant's whanging guitar chords, and Jackson's tonal blizzards.
Some of Jackson's classical training seems at play on "For Desdemona," a fragile, reserved beauty that features his trinkling, virtuoso runs against its poignant changes, as well as on the glorious "Summer," with its warm, softly swelling changes borne aloft by Howes' string overdubs. And Jackson's neoclassical solo-piano fantasia "Prologue" ends the album on a solemn note. Of course, concluding an album with a track called "Prologue" might seem to be an inversion of sorts. Or it could also be seen as a suggestion that D.D. Jackson sees renewal in his already astonishing career.
- Drew Wheeler, CDNOW Senior Editor