Jeff Marx & Jeff "Siege" Siegel - Dreamstuff

Stuart Kremsky, Cadence Magazine

Drawn from a pair of 2005 studio sessions (Marx, ts; Siegel, d; Catskill, NY, 8/18 & 12/11/05), the music soars from the opening fanfare by an unaccompanied Marx on his own “Harps.” There’s a striving quality to Marx’ insistent tenor, and he grows more intense as Siegel enters, evoking Elvin Jones just a bit.

The duo’s music is strongly influenced by the attitudes and performance styles of the new Jazz of the Sixties. One thing this pair knows how to do is keep things tight. Only a few tracks are longer than 5 minutes, a bit unusual in an era when 30 and 40 minute improvisations are so common. (Harps/ Little Elliot Lloyd/ Rag Tag/ Kind of Like Talking/ Tumble/ Exposition/ Bird’s Sanctuary/ Dreamstuff/Interiors/ Blues for John Stubblefield. 50:05)

Drummer Siegel’s one composing contribution, “Rag Tag,” has a Basie-like theme, but it takes off
from there with Marx’ playful tenor plus a running commentary from the drums. The pair’s two improvisations (the “let’s just see what happens” vibe of “Kind of Like Talking” and the atmospheric “Bird’s Sanctuary”) fit right in with the composed pieces.

John Esposito co-produced the session with the artists and contributed four of his tunes for the duo to
explore. His “Little Elliot Lloyd” is an attractively bluesy line that gets a keenly focused approach from Marx in his solo, varying his sound from rich and burred in the lower registers to shrill but controlled in the
upper range, all the while having a vigorous give and take with Siegel, mostly on brushes. “Interiors” is a static exercise in held tones against delicate cymbals and mallets lightly tapped on drums.
“Blues for John Stubblefield” has a Coltrane feel to it, and it provokes powerful solo work by the pair as they “play multiple tempos and meters simultaneously,” according to Esposito.
It ends the disc in fine fashion, clearly enunciating their immersion in the Jazz tradition and their ommitment to move the music forward.

Dreamstuff is a fine effort, definitely worth hearing.