JON DURANT – Momentarily

Alchemy 2024


To seize the day and get away with it: Boston sculptor of soul-gripping ambience embraces temporal fragilit.

This album’s title is filled with significance – “momentarily” meaning “for a short time” and “soon” – that reflects emotional pregnancy of its six pieces which may surprise Jon Durant’s listeners who didn’t have the chance to concentrate on the Massachusetts artist’s guitar mastery since 2019’s "Alternate Landscapes" as the following year’s “Soul Of A River” found his strings share sonic space with ivories and other in-between offerings – such as "Across The Evening" and "Crossings" – saw the veteran collaborate with fellow spirits. Still, doing the same here in the company of old friends Colin Edwin and Andi Pupato by rearranging his initial improvs for trio, he’s bridging a half-abstract stream of tuneful consciousness to sublime balladry where no words are required to bring home the players’ heartfelt messages.

Durant’s melodies grip the audience from the first mesmeric notes of “In A Moment” and don’t let up until the last passages of “For A Moment” get dissolved in silence, but there’s no overt intensity on this album – apart, perhaps, for an eleven-minute epic “Rockets On Kyiv”: an instrumental snapshot of a Ukrainian war scene as depicted to Jon by another of his colleagues, singer Inna Kovtun, who’s not present here – even though the guitar twang, caressed with Edwin’s velvet basses, upright and fretless, can feel gut-wrenching and enchantingly tear-drenched, especially when dynamics dictate its tension. And when transparency and mistiness take turns in painting understated drama on “Bitter Wind” – on which synthetic strings sing folk threnody over Pupato’s delicate groove – staying calm is nigh on impossible, while “Not Always Raining” explores subaquatic wonders of lower registers without allowing the topline to sink in the multiple layers the ensemble slowly bring to the surface, and “Raki” seems lighter, even cosmically transcendental in the rhythmic weave of its eastern promise.

It’s an instantly gratifying work of immense depth. A masterpiece.


March 29, 2024

Category(s): Reviews
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