Freebop stalwarts – dudes who helped fashion the lingo from the jump – are some of my biggest heroes. Pianist Caine turned 61 this year, and he couldn’t sound any more authoritative than he does right now. He’s been honing his ideas about blending out and in for so long that they seem to be the most natural notions around. Deep swing here, hard splash there, and everywhere a sense of balance that bolsters the profound volition driving the music. He’s often changing rhythm sections, but the squad that rounds out the pianist’s Calibrated Thickness album – bassist Mark Helias and drummer Clarence Penn – are locked in tight and fashion a true group sound. Check “Night Wrestler.” The trio works its way towards a choppy groove but still manages to keep the idea of grace right up front. The pianist grew up in the City of Brotherly Love, so his Fort Adams work with The Philadelphia Experiment (with homies Christian McBride and QuestLove along with guest turntablist DJ Logic) makes mucho sense. Their plugged-in approach uses funk as a lynch pin for daring improv, moody ambiance, and supple grooves. Just spent the morning with their 2001 joint, and it’s just as kinetic and kool as ever. Kinda klassic, even. Live, with all the syncopation and sweat uniting, this ish is fiyah.
Newport Jazz Festival 2017 Schedule / Aug 4 – 6