Live With David Cross
(2018 – Chromatic Records/dist by MoonJune – Brazil)
A Bartok/Crimson/Cross smorgasbord performance that must have made grown men cry, and now everyone can cry (with joy). A powerful live concert that was actually recorded in 2017 to promote Dialeto’s ‘Bartok in Rock’ album (also distributed by MoonJune Records in USA). As it turns out, the additional material done, ‘Tonk’ by David Cross from his ‘Exiles’ release, and four compositions by King Crimson, in which Dialeto put their unique touches to, became such a monster hit with the crowd, that the band decided to release it. You will be glad they did. Most songs are with the superb benefit of Mr David Cross himself on violin (songs 5 thru 13).
This major league Brazilian band consists of main members Nelson Coelho (guitar and mellotron guitar on ‘Starless’), Gabriel Costa (bass, vocals), and Fred Barley (drums, vocals). From the opening track ‘Romainian Folk Dances 3’, you get the heavy weight power much like the former world of Massacre (founded in 1980 by guitarist Fred Frith, bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Fred Maher). The gamut runs from hearty progressive pounce (as you could expect from some of the Bartok music) to frisky near blue grass jazz rock ala Bela Fleck (without the banjo) riffs to spacious syncopated passages. The first four pieces are without David Cross but the music is fully engaged to grip the listener. I love the way it was recorded and mixed, to keep the audience a slight bit more in the background than many live recordings I’ve listened to, which have the crowd front and center in your ears.
Dialeto prove what a confident capable and choice band they are in a live setting. One cannot help but notice the energy and attitude rise a few notches with the addition of Cross on ‘Mikrokosmos 113 – Bulgarian Rhythm’ (track 5). Dialeto become a hyper fueled Crimson/Richard Pinhas that perks up the adrenaline of the audience. In contrast, the following tune ‘Mikrokosmos 78 – Five Tone Scale’ is a beautiful floating space exploration that halfway through, turns the tempo up and gets quite festive.
Further into the concert comes some supremely performed King Crimson works. ‘Exiles’ is started with a dreamy electronic celestial delight. Being 10:59, the room for expansion is there and what a fine job they do. David Cross has never sounded better. In comes the pounce and with Cross doing the Fripp lead guitar with his violin (it sounds perfect by the way, with ebow effect and all), and Fred Barley (drummer) doing lead vocals (wow! amazing how close he sounds to John Wetton), the composition is a knock out. If this release does not have you at this point, you are dead.
‘Tonk’ (track 10) a cover from David Cross Band, is like a second coming of King Crimson (Larks’ Tongues/Red/Starless period) in all it’s glory. ‘The Talking Drum’ (track 11) is another partly modified (the beginning) but brilliant cover. Yet one more killer that no one can ignore. And masterfully, the band goes directly into ‘Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part Two’ like champion warriors, to make for a pinnacle of the show. But wait! There is still a 11:19 version of ‘Starless’ in which Fred Barley again adds his startling Wetton-like vocals to. Perfection! A stunning cover that is simply uncanny and incredible. I thought surely that a second percussionist (as Jamie Muir made Larks’ Tongues much of what it was as Bruford’s better half) would be sorely missed, but to my surprise, Fred pulled off some of the most unreal and ghostly drum/percussion work anyone could imagine. Adding an amazing variety of touches and masterful drumming (and no overdubs or secret musicians), Barley made those Crimson songs even more outstanding. No one will walk away thinking anything less than the three members of Dialeto being brilliant. Add Cross and you have a grand slam. Buy the CD and get a triple fold out glossy art digipak with lot of pictures of the band in action. EXTREMELY RECOMMENDED.
Reviewed by Lee Henderson 10 – 18 – 2018