Jackying: Terrasson Times Two (Jazz Standard)
Hand independence is an asset for drummers and pianists alike, but leading his new trio of bassist Ben Williams and drummer Jamire Williams, the keyboard dervish reminded just how deeply helpful skills in this arena can be. During “My Church” from the new Push, he set up a rumination in the lower register, and did an attractively dissonant dance up the keys to the right. Once there, he developed a fantasia that seemingly had little to do with the overall action at hand – save the fact that was both fascinating and provocative. Indeed, it was like a fourth member had been brought into the band. In a terrific set, it was an extended moment that almost beat the fact that he had also managed to turn “Smile” into a symphony.
Noah Preminger Toys Around With Ornette (Puppets)
It was the tenor saxophonist’s birthday, so he grabbed some pals – trumpeter Russ Johnson and guitarist Ben Monder among them – and bounced through a handful of tunes at the Brooklyn bar. When he got to Coleman‘s playful ditty (don’t mistake it with “Joy Of A Toy”) he was Deweying what came naturally: bending the melody to widen the playing field, picking up on all the anxious accents that drummer Diego Voglino was feeding him, and actively mixing the sweetness of Coleman’s music with some rougher textural gambits. New York is now, indeed.
Steve Cardenas Throws a Lasso Around Pop (Jazz Standard)
It might be just me, but I hear a few cowpoke echoes in “Roundup,” a gleefully idiosyncratic tune from the guitarist’s new West of Middle. When he, drummer Rudy Royston and bassist Ben Allison twirled their way through it on stage, those echoes were accentuated, and the power of generating simple melodies began to blossom. Cardenas’s improvs are catchy as hell; he moves from one statement to the next, and every developmental juncture boasts a handful of phrases that could stand as their own songs. It’s a tack parallels the heads that dominate the disc. Attractive and clear, “Spindle” and “Drifter” and “Burt” make a case for a songbook that moves away from Hancock and Shorter harmonic labyrinths, and towards Rollins and Rowles melody fields. In his own recent work, Allison, too, has been mining such ground. It’s one of the most refreshing strategies currently simmering in jazz.
John Hebert Breaks Out The Bow (55 Bar)
Ellery Eskelin, Tyshawn Sorey and the ubiquitous bassist were already rolling when I walked into the room, and Hebert was wringing some pointilistic abstraction from way up his instrument’s neck. Eskelin was surfing; the continous wave of graceful expressionism coming from his horn wasn’t letting up. All of a sudden the mood of the room changed. Sorey strolled, and the bassist was providing his own luscious drone to parallel the leader. He sustained one particular tone for a good chunk of time, and the consistency it brought to the table balanced the squall and provided a balm. Impressive, but perhaps not surprising. Hebert’s full of inventive moves every time you catch him.
Stephan Crump’s Sigh After Sigh (Jazz Gallery)
Hey dissonance devotees, there ain’t nothing wrong with pretty music, and when it’s as enchanting as the stuff the bassist has fashioned for his Rosetta Trio’s new Reclamation, it’s pretty much irresistible. The gentle interplay of Liberty Ellman‘s acoustic guitar and Jamie Fox‘s electric guitar was all about lyrical exchange, and mixed with Crump’s inquisitive music it took on an odd juxtaposition: pleasantry after pleasantry wafted by, but the meaty nature of the interplay n sustained itself throughout. It was 90 or so degrees out, and the gossamer aspects of the performance were absorbed by the entire room. Everyone needs Reclamation for their early-evening soundtrack this summer. Here they are on The Checkout.