Eric Revis: In Memory Of Things Yet Seen

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Eric Revis: Eric Revis: In Memory Of Things Yet Seen
Bassist Eric Revis is a heavyweight in more than one respect. He is doing the improbable in a remarkable way, thereby ignoring collectively imposed and maintained demarcations at work. Armed with his physically very present, raw and vibrant bass sound he beats his track into the realms of freely improvised music. He made his debut as a leader in 2012 with Parallax, on the authoritative Lisboan Clean Feed label, with a dream team of Jason Moran
Jason Moran
Jason Moran
b.1975
piano
, Ken Vandermark
Ken Vandermark
Ken Vandermark
b.1964
saxophone
and Nasheet Waits
Nasheet Waits
Nasheet Waits
b.1971
drums
. His 2013 follow-up was an even more surprising trio with pianist Kris Davis
Kris Davis
Kris Davis

piano
and many peoples' favorite drummer, Andrew Cyrille
Andrew Cyrille
Andrew Cyrille
b.1939
drums
.

The contrasts of that trio's City of Asylum proved to be a revelation; not resting on his laurels, however, Revis has already set up his next step with a high caliber 2+2 constellation that also includes percussionist Chad Taylor
Chad Taylor
Chad Taylor

drums
, tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry
Bill McHenry
Bill McHenry

saxophone
and altoist Darius Jones
Darius Jones
Darius Jones

sax, alto
—a lineup capable of drilling through thick boards, which actually happens on its bold debut recording, In Memory Of Things Yet Seen.

Crazy things are claimed in jazz-related writing at times, but a link between Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
b.1960
saxophone
and Peter Brotzmann
Peter Brotzmann
Peter Brotzmann
b.1941
reeds
is no longer fictitious because Revis has played and recorded with both musicians—nine albums with Marsalis and, as a unifying matter of fact, Marsalis steps in on two pieces of this extremely fine, grinding album.

Revis is not a man to balance styles; how would such a teetering affair then sound? He plays raw and uninhibited, direct, and always full-force. As a leader, he does not primarily act as harmonizer, support player or anchor; instead, by sparking, firing up and energizing, he makes the dust fly. The nuance is in the rhythmic fine tuning; it's in the interaction with all the greatly contrasting voices that this music's branding happens. These contrasts are used by the quartet in an impressive way, with high intensity and various temperatures as fervid, truthful sounds emerge. Revis' attack is not unlike that of Howlin' Wolf
Howlin' Wolf
Howlin' Wolf
1910 - 1976
vocalist
, the legendary blues giant. It is the primal force of the voice and soul which is manifest, far from stylized sadness, loneliness and a smoldering longing, revealed here in thirteen pieces that are equally striking and beautiful.

Only two of the thirteen pieces—"Hits" and "FreeB"—are entirely improvised. "The Tulpa Chronicles" is spread over the whole album in three parts. The first part is the album's starting point, its ostinato vibraphone opening up a wide horizon after which the fierce roars, whacks and spanks of "Hits" tumble and fly through space. "Son Seals" is a fast, M-Base-like blues with brilliant expansion and contraction movements. It is superb how Revis and Taylor prepare the soil from which the two horns emerge with full thrust. "Somethin's Cookin'" is an apt title for the subsequent piece that, at times, comes across as a mixture of blowing Tibetan and mariachi horns.

The range of variations across the album is remarkable . "Unknown" also is a killer piece, swinging hard and raw. "The Tulip Chronicles II" is short, with great resilience and is, above all, catchy and danceable. "Voices" is a slow burner filled with Jones and Henry's full, raw saxophone sounds, with no place for sentimental moods. "Earned A Lesson" starts with a superb bass intro and possesses significant content, including a New Orleans second-line rhythm. "The Shadow World" is the decisive step to get the last slumber-heads awake. Reminiscent of Sun Ra
Sun Ra
Sun Ra
1914 - 1993
keyboard
, the qualities of all four musicians accumulate here in a highly intense way. "Hold My Snow Cone" is a slow blues, with Jones taking the torch from Arthur Blythe
Arthur Blythe
Arthur Blythe
b.1940
sax, alto
. The concluding "If You Are Lonesome, Then You're Not Alone" is a hymn or gospel of the future, carried by a striking saxophone duet. Catching upcoming live performances of this group is highly recommended.

Track Listing: The Tulpa Chronicles I; Hits; Son Seal; Somethin’s Cookin’ ; Unknown; The Tulpa Chronicles II; Voices; A Lesson Earned; The Shadow World; Hold My Snow Cone; FreeB; The Tulpa Chronicles III; If Your Are Lonesome, the You’re Not Alone

Personnel: Eric Revis: double-bass; Chad Taylor: drums, vibraphone; Bill McHenry: tenor saxophone; Darius Jones: alto saxophone

Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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