Even though saxophonist Steve Lehman is uncompromisingly his own composer, an airing of this quintet work can't help but call to mind his forebearers. The prominence of Chris Dingman's vibraphone prompts thoughts of a more wayward version of the Dave Holland Quintet, maybe closer to The Claudia Quintet in its rhythmically angular strikes. Then, Lehman is a rigorous technician who might superficially be viewed as somewhat cerebral, but upon deeper immersion displays a keen emotional expressiveness. This is reminiscent of the ways in which Anthony Braxton and Steve Coleman are perceived. Then there's the repetitive riffing with shifting slates of simultaneous patterning that evoke Ornette Coleman's Prime Time. Hurried, but not sweating.
Nevertheless, Lehman is already making massive strides towards establishing his own territory, if he hasn't already done so. A 2007 duo performance at New York's The Stone with trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson premiered a fresh set of striking compositions that melded both horns into a single beast, but often relying on each other jointly to complete a full phrase or solo. It's the same on this disc, as the horns joust above a billowing bed of vibes and bass, the latter provided by Drew Gress, an actual refugee from The Claudia Quintet. Tyshawn Sorey completes the lineup, his drum patterns often having more of a dialogue with the horns than the bass or vibraphone.
The players share, then swap roles, constantly redefining their place and orientation within the tune-frame. To mention another influence (this is still assuredly Lehman's music!), surely the composer has been listening to the controlled stuttering structures of Frank Zappa, or at least Edgard Varèse. This is the new Cool School (oh no, yet another precedent!)...
Track Listing: Analog Moment; Open Music; Haiku d'Etat Transcription; Curse Fraction; Check This Out; On Meaning; Great Plains Of Algiers; Process.
Personnel: Steve Lehman: alto saxophone; Jonathan Finlayson: trumpet; Chris Dingman: vibraphone; Drew Gress: bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums.
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.