Look Within

Look Within

When one hears Joe Dyson take off in a bravura solo drum feature at the end of “Fleeting Faith,” the opening track of his debut, Look Within, it’s clear right away why Pat Metheny would choose him (along with keyboardist James Francies) for his forward-thinking trio project Side-Eye. Dyson is on that tier, mentionable in the same breath as longtime Metheny powerhouse drummer Antonio Sánchez. A New Orleans native, Dyson has also gained stature in bands led by Nicholas Payton, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, and more. He is self-assured under the spotlight on Look Within, a quintet set with fellow New Orleanians, playing mainly originals, closing out with a Thelonious Monk classic in a rhythmically skewed New Orleans Second Line feel. Joined by tenor saxophonist Stephen Gladney, trumpeter Stephen Lands, pianist Oscar Rossignoli, and bassist Jasen Weaver, Dyson displays tremendous virtuosity and melodic flair in a wide range of tempos and moods: “Forward” is full-on maximum speed and intricacy, while “Forever Changed” probes darker, more mysterious harmonic hues. The title track ventures into hazy neo-soul with guest vocalist L.E., while “Great Spirit” offers down-the-middle swing, “Come to Thee” a gospel detour, and “Lost Trails for the Infidel” a cresting, anthemic ballad. Whatever the idiom, Dyson brings an impeccable feel for ambiance and groove, holding much in reserve until the energy and expression spill over.

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