Frank Duvall
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Frank Duvall


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The best kept secret in music


"Jazz Now Interactive"

"Swagger" - This is a refreshing disc. Within the standard quartet format, these veteran musicians deliver a spirited performance. Opening with "Finders Keepers," there is an energy that moves things along. The rhythm section of Duvall and Baxter is taught and assured. Lewis solos on tenor with a nice sense of melodic detail, as does pianist Anschell. Both are confident and lyrical soloists. "Limestone" is a rock tune with Duvall anchoring things nicely while Baxter embellishes with cymbals in the intro. Lewis has an ease about his sax playing with his notes almost floating in the air. Baxter opens up during Anschell's solo and things cook. It's evident that they are as great of listeners as they are players.

Even on a ballad like "The Gift," they keep their energy as the tune dances along. "Lonely Journey" is slow paced and measured. Duvall's bass, reminiscent of the great Charlie Haden, is full bodied and lyrical as he solos over a sparse drum part. "The Gloaming" is in seven, yet never feels "odd." Lewis solos on soprano with a full tone. He avoids that nasally overblown sound that so many players seem to favor. The up tempo "Swagger" lets Anschell shine in an opening solo. He leaves space between the notes, letting the music breathe. Judging by this CD, some great things are happening in South Carolina. - Michael Bettine

"Sounds of Timeless Jazz"

Downbeat Magazine's 1998 award for Best Jazz Soloist went to tenor and soprano saxophonist Robert Lewis, a much sought-after solo artist and clinician around the Southern Region of the USA. His debut CD SWAGGER, includes five original compositions inspired by his diverse experiences as an educator alongside four originals written by co-leader Frank Duvall, one of the most respected acoustic bassists in the southeast. Lewis, who also heads the Jazz Program at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, is also joined by the former musical director for Nnenna Freelon, Bill Anschell on piano and Quentin Baxter on drums. The set opens with "Finders Keepers", a tune Lewis wrote while practicing saxophone lines over Coltrane's "Giant Steps" changes. Lewis added a modulation, stellar improvisations, and a few stop-times giving the tune a fresh perspective. The title track finds the quartet burning on this bebop number that features an excellent piano solo from Anschell and stellar sax ideas from Lewis. Baxter offers his interpretation of rhythm logic with an outstanding drum solo. Overall, this program reflects a variety of jazz styles - bebop, swing and jazz waltz - that takes the listener through a diverse array of musical feelings. - Paula Edelstein

"Double Bassist"

Here is some creative writing and fine playing from a high-class American quartet. There are no standards on this recording - instead, the two leaders share compositional duties very successfully. The material contains a good balance of tempos and time signatures: three, four and seven. Many of the pieces are in minor keys and there is a prevailing melancholy throughout much of the album. But there are also uplifting moments, especially in the faster tunes.

The composers are joined in the playing department by two sensitive sidemen: pianist Bill Anscell and drummer Quentin Baxter. All participants improvise well and accompany each other sensitively. There is a secure group feel and a spacious, modern but mellow mood to the disc.

Robert Lewis has a fluid saxophone sound with some of the vulnerability and charm of Charlie Rouse. Frank Duvall is a fine double bassist with a pleasant but not in-your-face sound. He is a subtle and accomplished soloist with a strong rhythmical sense and a versatile technique.

The effect of this charming album is rather seductive - perhaps a good choice for a Valentinte's day gift of a birthday present for your beloved. - Malcolm Creese


"Fearless Jones" - 2002; Swagger" - 2000


Feeling a bit camera shy


Robert Lewis, Frank Duvall, and Quentin Baxter have found they have an unusually strong chemistry when playing together as a trio. Their varied musical backgrounds come together in a very creative, intuitive and connected way. While remaining firmly grounded in the tradition of the music, these three focus on the interactive element that is the essence of jazz music. This focus, whether it is applied to standard songs or their own original compositions, makes every performance a fresh and original experience. They are carrying on the exploratory tradition that gives great music its vitality. Listeners feel this energy, and are carried along on a ride which is always exiting, unpredictable, and unique.

Robert was the 1998 winner of the Downbeat magazine "db" Award for Best Jazz Soloist. He holds a Bachelors degree in saxophone performance from the University of Idaho, and a Masters degree from Western Michigan University. While at Western, he had the opportunity to study extensively with legendary drummer Billy Hart in addition to his normal course of study.
After teaching a year at Western while Trent Kynaston (his own teacher) was on sabbatical, Robert moved to South Carolina and has quickly become very involved in the area music scene, including teaching saxophone and jazz at the College of Charleston.

Frank is one of the most respected and sought-after acoustic bassists in the Southeast. After receiving a masters degree from the University of South Carolina, Frank moved to New York City, where he played both the Blue Note and Birdland jazz clubs. Currently the musical director at the Charleston Grill, Frank continues to play with some of the best touring talent to come through the state.
A small sample of his performance resumé includes numerous performances with Marian McPartland, Freddie Hubbard, Buddy DeFranco, Chris Vadalla, Carl Fontana, Peter Appleyard, Harry Allen, Jon Stowell, Andy Watson, Steve Watson, Dizzy Gillespie, John Faddis, Nneenna Freelon, Chris Potter, Larry Goldings, Bob Belden, Bennie Green, Kevin Hayes, Bill Stewart, and Bill Charlap.

Quentin, a Charleston native and graduate of the College of Charleston, serves on the C of C faculty as Adjunct Professor of Jazz Percussion. He also attended the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Quentin comes from a family of drummers: both his mother and father played drums in church, as well as his three brothers. "I've been playing percussion instruments in church for as long as I can remember," says Quentin. "As a matter of fact, I don't remember not playing some type of percussion instrument!" And even though he's been playing professionally for many years now, having a very "blessed" career working with the likes of Charlie Byrd, Billy Childs, and Marcus Roberts to name a few, he recalls some of his most memorable and impressionistic musical experiences in the low-country area playing in church and with the students and faculty of the College of Charleston.