Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Duval, Dominic

Duval, Dominic, bass; b. New York City, NY, 27 April 1944. Active on the New York free jazz scene since the 60s, bass player Duval swiftly established a high reputation among his peers. But in the early 1970s he left music to work in manual labor and support his wife Katherine (who died in the summer of 2002) and their triplets.

Owing to several well-received albums beginning in 1995, his name became known to international audiences. He has worked notably with Cecil Taylor and Joe McPhee, as well as with musicians such as pianists Matthew Goodheart, Mark Whitecage and Adam Makowicz, drummers John Heward and Jay Rosen, the latter being a particular favorite collaborator of Duval's, saxophonists Ivo Perelman, Glenn Spearman and Chris Kelsey, violinist Jason Hwang and the Amici String Quartet. He performed with the semi-classical group, the Manhattan Improvisers Chamber Ensemble, which included Rosen, Dom Minasi (guitar), Eleanor Amlin (vocals), John Gunther (reeds), and Rod Thomas (violin).

His bands include the C.T. String Quartet (named for Taylor), the Equinox Trio, an experimental improvisatory group in which he is joined by Hwang, Ron Lawrence (viola), and Tomas Ulrich (cello), and he is particularly striking in his numerous appearances in duos, with, for example, Hwang and Goodheart.

For some of his work, Duval draws upon concepts outside music. Under The Pyramid is a paean to the people of Mexico, and Duval has also expressed through his music his solidarity with Native Americans. Demanding of audiences, intellectually unsettling and emotionally profound, Duval's often unpredictable music is always close to, and at times is beyond, the cutting edge of jazz.

Among the instruments Duval plays is a Hutchings bass, designed and built by Carleen Hutchings. These instruments have electronically tuned top and back plates, a device that creates the sonority of a vintage, seasoned instrument although they are newly made.

Selected recordings:
The Experiment; Under the Pyramid; Falling in Flat Space; Qu'A Yuba (w/ Cecil Taylor); The Dreambook; Rapture; Cries and Whispers; Nightbird Inventions; In The Spirit; Let Paul Robison Sing; Split Personality (Mark Whitecage Trio); Undersound; Watermelon Suite; The Anniversary; The Wedding Band; The Navigator; Equinox; State of the Art; Elements; Sound Implosion; Ivo Perelman and the C.T. String Quartet
As sideperson:
Cecil Taylor Quartet: Qu`a; McPhee, Bisio & Giardullo: There Is No Greater Love; Andrew Cheshire Trio: Magic; Mathew Goodheart & Dominic Duval: Crossings; Mark Whitecage: Free for Once; Caged No More; Fractured Standard & Fairy Tales; Ivo Perelman: Slaves of Job; Revelation; Seeds, Vision, Counterpoint

Coda, Jan-Feb. 2003

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