Steve Lehman Quintet: Artificial Light (2004)
The balance of instruments and talented players, along with Lehman's unique compositional arrangements, make for an interesting and unconventional outing which includes elements of free-bop, swing, and modern jazz. The music for the most part consists of odd cadences, repeating riffs, and aggressive solos that work well within the framework of Lehman's ideas.
On the opening track, "Fumba Rebel," Lehman's alto repeats a staggered pattern as Chris Dingman lays down a lengthy vibe solo. The addition of the vibraphone adds coolness to the music and Dingman proves to be a most capable player. The under recorded and lush voice of tenor saxophonist Mark Shim are profound as he brings his trademarked lower register sound. Lehman and Shim are like minded horn players and create memorable horn interaction on the intricate "Alloy."
Veteran bassist Drew Gress is superb; his skilled presence is felt throughout the entire recording and his solo on the soothing "Estelle Teams" is a testament to his talents. The hippest piece goes to the stellar "Freestyle" which incorporates excellent solos, a groovacious alto/tenor horn arrangement, and vivid drum work by Eric McPherson.
While maybe not for everyone's taste, there is a special character to the recording which is laced with dreams of jazz's past but more importantly visions of jazz's future in the fertile mind and horn of Steve Lehman. Recommended.
Track Listing: Fumba Rebel; Alloy; Estelle Teams; Freestyle; Post-Modern Pharoahs; Cloak and Dagger; Digital Ambush.
Personnel: Steve Lehman: alto saxophone; Mark Shim: tenor saxophone; Chris Dingman: vibraphone; Drew Gress: bass; Eric McPherson: drums.
Record Label: Blue Moon
Style: Modern Jazz