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Artist/Band: Dan Krimm
Dan Krimm is an electric bassist with a fluid, melodic approach and a composer of fresh compositions in a progressive jazz style. For this EP he leads a top-notch group playing four of his original tunes. Recorded in 1991, originally released only on cassette tape, this 30-minute album is now re-released in 2011 in a 20th anniversary digital edition, re-mastered from the digital master created in 1991 along with the analog tape master.
Subtle Truth was Dan Krimm's final audio recording under his own name as a bandleader (the Dan Krimm Ensemble), via his self-owned record label, Overtone Records (decommissioned in 1993). This marked the culmination of his endeavor to break a career as a self-supporting musical artist, and in particular his efforts to stretch his technique into chording/comping roles in his group, as well as extending his improvisational range.
Dan had become comfortable with the piano-less quartet format (sax, guitar, bass, drums) playing with guitarist Rolf Sturm in the late 80s, and ultimately gravitated to that format for his own group when he was ready for a second recording project. Rolf joins this group along with Mike Foster on tenor sax and Tom Nazziola on drums and percussion. All members have compositional experience on their own merits.
The four original compositions on Subtle Truth were all written in 1980-81, but three of them were first recorded on this recording (Spirit Dance was included in a slightly different arrangement on Sentience, his debut album). Walden (4:39) is a lilting jazz waltz that modulates to a variety of keys with intermediate modal sections -- this arrangement begins with the guitar solo, as a change of pace. Spirit Dance is an extended track (12:22) based mostly on a five-beat meter (interludes in 3 and 4), with extended modal jams on the 5-meter. (This is a layered meter with syncopated accents in the middle of the bar, as if a 2+3 type 5-8 meter were superposed over a 5-4 meter, providing a kind of rhythmic symmetry rather than the uneven 2+3 or 3+2 breakdown.) The treatment on this recording is more etherial and atmospheric than the Sentience version, and provides lots of room for the soloists to stretch out. Night Sea (4:50) is a short latin-based head, evoking images of an ocean beach in a summer night. And Jewel (8:05) is a gentle ballad anchored by lydian modes and smoky saxophone.
There are few additional production notes of interest associated with this recording:
* There are no overdubs on this recording. All compositions were arranged for live performance, and were performed as such in the studio.
* Dan plays chords on the bass on the heads of: Spirit Dance, Jewel. Dan plays chords on the bass during guitar solos on: Night Sea, Jewel.
* The bass Dan plays is a five-string fretless "Buzz" bass made by M.V. Pedulla Guitars, strung with a high-C. The Buzz design includes a full 24-semitone range (two octaves) yielding a top note of C-above-middle-C. Because of the extended range and the chordal and melodic approach, Dan sometimes calls this a "bass/baritone guitar" after the tradition of referring to classical male singers of intermediate range.
* All synthesized sounds are produced by Rolf, with a MIDI hookup on his electric guitar. When guitar and synth are interposed, this represents a real-time sound change by Rolf during the live performance.
* Percussion and drum-set are occasionally played simultaneously by Tom. Once again, this is live, not an overdub.
Produced by Dan Krimm and David Stone
Recording and Mixing Engineer: David Stone
Recorded June 15 and 23, 1991 at Fox Recording Studios, Rutherford, NJ
Mixed July 5-7, 1991 at Carriage House Music, Stamford, CT
Recording Assistant Engineer (Fox): Tim Peter
Mixing Assistant Engineer (Carriage House): Matt Lane
Cover Art: Jimmell Mardome
Photo (1991): Susan Rutman
Digitally re-mastered December 2011 by Joe Tarantino