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John Escreet: Exception To The Rule (2011)

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John Escreet: Exception To The Rule How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

The highest compliment that might be paid to pianist John Escreet is that he has a restless mind. It is not that the music on Exception To The Rule is troubled or uptight; it's just that his modus operandi is one of extreme opposites. He composes tight counterpoint and swift changing intervals for his bands to perform, filling his scores full of notes, or writes a simple piece that is significant, not for the notes played, but for the sounds generated.

The Brit-turned-New Yorker is an admirer of the legacy of pianists Paul Bley
Paul Bley
Paul Bley
b.1932
piano
, Andrew Hill
Andrew Hill
Andrew Hill
1937 - 2007
piano
and Cecil Taylor
Cecil Taylor
Cecil Taylor
b.1929
piano
. He synthesizes their influence, much like his mentor, Jason Moran
Jason Moran
Jason Moran
b.1975
piano
, mixing freedom with tightly composed passages that aggressively push an intellectual agenda that swings its ass off.

This disc, his first for the Dutch label (although he can be found on David Binney
David Binney
David Binney
b.1961
saxophone
's Aliso (Criss Cross, 2010)), follows The Age We Live In (Mythology, 2011) and Don't Fight The Inevitable (Mythology, 2010). Escreet's musical partner throughout these recordings is saxophonist Binney, a modernist whose inside/outside playing flows from the intricate opening title track—executed almost as a warning shot—to the electronic sound designs of "Redeye" and "Electrotherapy," which could almost be considered minimalist undertakings.

Escreet moves well within the modern Brooklyn landscape, playing with drummers Tyshawn Sorey
Tyshawn Sorey
Tyshawn Sorey
b.1980
drums
, Chris Persad Group, The Dautaj, Marcus Gilmore , Coquito, Fri and, here, Nasheet Waits
Nasheet Waits
Nasheet Waits
b.1971
drums
. Waits and bassist Eivind Opsvik switch from the precise and groove-laden "The Water Is Tasting Worse" to the open-ended improvisation of "They Can See" with such nonchalance that the variation is quite natural. Pulling these disparate approaches together, the pianist forges a sound that is best summed up on the final track, "Wayne's World." The composition begins with bits of chamber sounds, then onto some angular angst speed-jazz, only to unfold into groove-driven melody. Escreet delivers his anthem to modernity, making the difficult passages come off with ease and blending the disparate parts into one edgy soup.

Track Listing: Exception To The Rule; Redeye; Collapse; They Can See; Escape Hatch; Wide Open Spaces; Electrotherapy; The Water Is Tasting Worse; Restlessness; Wayne's World.

Personnel: John Escreet: piano, keyboards; David Binney: alto saxophone, electronics; Eivind Opsvik: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums.

Record Label: Criss Cross


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