Zen Diagram 2023

Back for good: Louisville veteran tightens his instrumental grip on the present day to bend it out of shape and transform into something wonderful.


Apparently, Kingsley Durant is here to stay, this platter convincingly proving that 2020’s "Point Of Reference" which marked the Kentuckian guitarist’s return to a solo path in terms of preserved sound wasn’t a one-off event, yet “Convertible” should also reveal a less varied, and thus more conceptual, method of piecing different compositions into a single context. It’s not a matter of getting fresh music out of one’s system and letting the listener take previously unheard melodies for granted; it’s all about finding new numbers a place in a grand scheme of things and creating a unified experience. Not for nothing a few cuts here are named after people close to the performer’s heart, with “Stanky” picking up the slack left by “Slanky” from the preceding album, and the equally funky, if diaphanous, title track setting the tone for a fiery, if reserved, jazz rock he’s a master of.

“Cobblestones” might be a better showcase of Durant’s gentle, and at the same time muscular, touch, bent strings resonating with Steve Hunt’s electric piano whose keys, in turn, gel with Kingsley’s harmonies and explore their various tangents, while Roscoe Beck’s basses jive, locked into Tom Brechtlein’s drums but free enough to flirt with guitar, as the frisky “Vivi’s Bounce” demonstrates in style, gradually gaining speed. And though “Alice” and “Akiko” offer almost intimate, yet rather physical, vibe that’s given a pronounced retro aroma, Eric Johnson’s licks on “Funky Princess” add driving force to the drift, and the Latino-tinged, slightly swaggering, bottom-end-swinging “Marlowe’s Mood” follows the suit. However, the piano-sprinkled “Sister Suz” brings things to a triumphant close by transmogrifying blues into magnificently spiritual, epic flight of fantasy. And this is the most convertible currency a musician can come up with to support his stand.


March 4, 2024

Category(s): Reviews
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