MUMEx Duo’s New Album “Heat the Silent” LP

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MUMEx Duo’s new album release Heat the Silent’s seven songs is an album about many ideas given musical life. It is about fathers as well. The accompanying press material for the album documents Siciliano’s thematic motivations about the piece as a sort of tribute to the crucial shaping of his musical and personal character. The music of men such as Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Cecil Taylor, and countless others exerted a life-altering hold over Siciliano and the introduction came via his father. Heat the Silent reflects that in its audacious yet substantive desire to wow listeners – not with gimmicks, not with cliché, but raw and wide-eyed inspiration given musical form.

It has an academic slant. The collection is an exploration as well, a look back over the last century of jazz not with a professorial eye, however, but instead with an eye to the future. Some of the songs driving this collection rely on traditional composition, there’s no disputing that, but there’s a willingness in their Siciliano and drummer Mauro Salvatore’s playing that opens the door to synthesis. Early 20th century style clashes with its mid-century progeny and beyond during tracks such as the late cut “Joe’s Island”. It’s one of Salvatore’s richest performances as well. His percussive phrasing adds such musicality to the release.

The duo’s abilities as master stylists emerge in vivid color during the second song “When All the People Are Sleeping”. The initial mood of the piece doesn’t remain unbroken, however, as the Duo never bind themselves to follow a single path, and we weave through boozy staggers, spiraling melodies, and well-timed Salvatore stick work. “Heat the Silent” breaks new ground for the release as the envelope pushing of the album’s opener “Variations of ‘Estate” collides with more mainstream touches heard elsewhere during the release. It feels and sounds like a bit of a mission statement, as well, thanks to an added surfeit of energy lacking in the other songs.

The aforementioned opener is a hard-hitting way to start the release, however, and will jar all but the sleepiest of listeners.  It is a snake of a song, in a way, slinking through unexpected transformations and opening the door onto the following six tracks. “Beyond the Eight Door”, however, is the peak moment. The commanding way Siciliano’s piano leads the twosome into a relentless swirl of changes upon changes creates a near mandala-like effect. Salvatore, in particular, carries the day with his imposing drumming.

Enough cannot be said for the album’s construction. The duo put together this album with a clear idea of its intended message and their efforts are pay off with a release that wears many different faces over the course of its seven tracks. No one mask is final. The mosaic of sound, however, that Heat the Silent develops is reasonably representative, without question, of jazz and its broad stylistic canvas and the emotional weight of the compositions is beyond question. MUMEx Duo have succeeded with another stellar release and seem poised for more.  


Timothy Ball

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