Eric Revis: Tales of the Stuttering Mime (2004)
Best known as Branford Marsalis' bassist, Eric Revis' first solo project mixes straight-ahead jazz with intense funk fusion and employs a gaggle of special guests. The vast array of sounds and ensembles showcases the bass as an incredibly multifaceted instrument that easily finds its place among a diverse smattering of situations.
The album is a collage of unique moments. Revis creates a reverent universe around his instrument on "Miles Sebastian. The track opens with a hard-to-discern voice mail message, followed by the breathy strains of the Echo String Quartet. An encounter with metal occurs on "11:11 as Oz Noy's raunchy electric guitar erupts and JD Allen (tenor sax), Yosvany Terry (alto sax), and Duane Eubanks (trumpet) create a horn trellis that hovers above the rhythm section. A country twang creeps in with "Lulu's Back In Town, featuring "Dirty Red Ricky Gordon, Doug Wamble, and Noy getting down and dirty on washboard, banjo, and guitar respectively.
Many of the album's tracks bounce along a vibrant beat pierced by digital sounding clips. Bass and drums clench solidly on "Isitis aided by percussionist Khalil Kwame Bell, while horns set off on fluttery travails. Jeff "Tain Watts goes ballistic on drums on "Black Elk Speaks, forming an energetic force field from which pianist Orrin Evans, Eubanks, Allen, and Revis launch their solos.
There's a truckload of ideas sifting through Revis' head, but he might benefit from a little simplicity. The eighteen musicians on Tales Of The Stuttering Mime are exceptional, but slightly overwhelming. Even the slow tunes simmer with a sudden energy. Allen's saxophone and Eubank's trumpet seethe through "Ayanna as Evans lends a gentle touch on piano. Toned down to a trio, piano, bass, and drums form an elegant ensemble for "Phi. Evans' notes glisten off Revis' paunchy lines, while cymbals splash around for a revealing moment where we realize less is more.
Track Listing: Isitis; Love/Stranger; Tainted; Ayanna; The Enemy Flying; Lulu's Back In Town; Miles In Sebastian; Black Elk Speaks; Phi; 11:11; Muldoon.
Personnel: Eric Revis: bass; JD Allen: tenor saxophone; Duane Eubanks: trumpet; Orrin Evans: piano; Oz Noy: guitar; Yosvanny Terry: alto saxophone; Jeff "Tain" Watts: drums; Gregoire Maret: harmonica; Doug Wamble: banjo; Khalil Kwame Bell: percussion; Sherman Irby: alto saxophone; "Dirty Red" Ricky Gordon: washboards & thangs; Myron Walden: bass clarinet, alto saxophone; Dana Murray: programming; Erik Carlson: violin; Pat Done: violin; Nadia Sirota: violin; Clarice Jensen: cello.