Speed Date with Deric Dickens

Duos with Matt Wilson, Kirk Knuffke, Ben Cohen, Jeff Lederer, Jon Crowley, Jeremy Udden



 Bird is the Worm

....Taken as a whole, the album is to appreciated as much as a creative experiment as a music listening experience.  For musicians to embrace a fun, exciting challenge, and then endow the music with those same qualities, that’s the kind of thing we should want from our artists… to take chances, to produce creative pieces of quality, and for it spring from some kind of emotional basis that elevates the piece from simple craft to inspirational art.

This one came from a place of good humor.  Speed Date communicates that loud and clear.....

....While Speed Date does have a remarkable cohesion considering its sizable guest roster, it’s also noticeable how each guest artist is able to give voice to their specific sound on their respective tracks, and the consistency of that sound across the span of their contributions......



InstantJazz Music Store

"Diversity and fun. And totally DIY"  Voted 15th on their End of Year List 2011.


New York City Jazz Record by Gordon Marshall

Deric Dickens "circles the explorations of his collaborators [with] remarkable stylistic consistency..."


Free Jazz Blog

Being a fan of duets with percussion, Brooklyn-based drummer Deric Dickens seems to have made an album that really fits my taste.

On twenty short tracks, Dickens plays duets with Ben Cohen on tenor saxophone, Jon Crowley on trumpet, Kirk Knuffke on coronet, Jeff Lederer also on tenor saxophone, Jeremy Udden on alto and C melody saxophone, and Matt Wilson on drums, wooden flute, and "Makers Mark Bottle".

The music is - not surprisingly - influenced by Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman, free quite often, yet also sometimes with rhythmic base and a theme. Some pieces like "Original Self" are more traditional, with once in a while a reference to Ayler, as in "Duck Dance", but the fun stuff clearly dominates. As a kind of self-imposed limitation, some tracks are stop-watched at 1:14 minutes. 

This is an album without any other ambition than to bring fun stuff, enjoying the interplay of rhythm and lyricism in its simplest format. This is not great art, nor is it really innovative, and neither were the objective I think, but an incredibly fun album that's been in my car for the past week. When stuck in traffic jams, or when having trouble adjusting to the light of day, or worrying about the small and big things of life, agonising about everything I should have done but failed to do, just listening to this put me back in the right mood. Therapeutic music? Possibly among the best, without pretense.


Step Tempest

Don't know much about drummer Deric Dickens but one listen to "Speed Date" (self-released) and you'll know he's influenced by Ornette Coleman and the "Mu" duo of Don Cherry & Ed Blackwell (you'll also know that if you read the liner notes, which I did after listening to the CD.) Joining him on this 20-track "date" are Ben Cohen (tenor saxophone on 3 tracks), Jon Crowley (trumpet on 3 tracks), Kirk Knuffke (cornet on 4 tracks), Jeff Lederer (tenor saxophone on 2 tracks, clarinet on 1), Jeremy Udden (alto and C Melody saxophone on 3 tracks) and Matt Wilson (drums, wooden flute, bottle on 4 tracks).   6 tracks were created "by the clock" in that a stop watch was used and the duo had 74 seconds to instantly compose a piece.

Each participant brings his special flavor to the program, whether it's Lederer somewhat madcap style, Knuffke's exploratory side, Crowley's low-key playfulness (a la Lester Bowie), Udden's sweetly melodic side, Cohen's mellow edge (a Ben Webster quality is evident in his smoky tones) and Wilson's...well, Matt Wilson is always irrepressible. Lederer's " Duck Dance", adapted from a traditional Seminole Indian song is a quirky formal then informal then "free" romp while "Swing It Sista", featuring Udden, could easily have been a radio favorite in the 1930s or 40s (dig that hepcat brush work.) Knuffke's "coronet" (at least, that is what's listed in the liner notes) jumps out of the speakers on the danceable "Roy at the Store" while turning muted and mournful on "Knowing the Unknown."  Wilson and Dickens do their Buddy Rich impressions on the short but spunky "Hold On" Barney", go "native" on the sharp-edged "I Don't Speak Caveman" (Wilson shrieking on wooden flute) and tell quite a story on "Search For the Cobra."  Dickens can be flashy but prefers to swing with Lederer on the saxophonist's free-bopping "4 on the Floor." Crowley stays in his trumpet's mid and lower ranges for "Bizsnatch" and dances along on the snappy "My Beard Only Grows Red" (one of the pieces where you can really hear the Blackwell influence and also shades of Billy Higgins.)

"Speed Date" should please listeners who believe that 21st Century jazz is too conservative (that is what I have read in some publications.)  Deric Dickens and his 6 collaborators are very involved in their dialogues and, lucky us, we get to sit right in the middle.  For more information, go to www.dericdickens.com 





In Italian

All About Jazz Italy by Vincenzo Roggero

3.5 stars

In Dutch

Goddeau by Guy Peters 


In French

Le Glob by Jean Rochard

Concert Review