Gerald Cleaver / William Parker / Craig Taborn: Farmers By Nature (2009)
Farmers By Nature is the perfect outlet for these three highly respected progressives: drummer Gerald Cleaver, bassist William Parker and pianist Craig Taborn. Their herculean abilities have been witnessed on their recordings as leadersCleaver's Detroit (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2008), Parker's Petit Oiseau (AUM Fidelity, 2008) and Taborn's Junk Magic (Thirsty Ear, 2004)and on collaborations with seminal artists including Tim Berne, Roscoe Mitchell, Matthew Shipp and David Torn. Cleaver's brilliant idea to create their own collective came to fruition when they began performing together on varied dates in 2007.
This release documents a live recording at The Stone in New York City on June 19th, 2008. The album's title draws inspiration from the continuing ancient traditions of farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Like seeds planted in the fertile ground of inventiveness, the trio's ideas germinates into enthralling music that is organic and spontaneous.
The eight track names are parsed from a single performance commencing with "Korteh Khah," where cymbal, chants and bass, create a tribal-like ritual call. Things proceed ominously in "The Night," as Taborn's elongated chords are mirrored by Parker's squealing bow and Cleaver's tinkering traps. Its jagged progression is eccentric, dissonant and slowly builds to a steady momentum as each musician experiments with the unscripted theme.
The sheer movement and constant exchange of ideas flows like a tidal wave of energy. "Not Unlike Number 10" ascends, then leaps over the precipice with tempestuous sheets of sound (schizoid piano, hammering bass, and thundering drums) and fleeting moments of solitude that are in constant flux. The instrument voices are catalysts for change, inserting or extracting random ideas. The performance culminates with "Fieda Mytliem," a staggering finish that displays the trio's cohesiveness and each member's intense musicianship.
Farmers By Nature is an arduous listen and not for the faint of heart or ear; the prize is found in hearing how these improvisers work through their creative process. When taken in its entirety, it is simply stunning.
Track Listing: Korteh Khah; The Night; Cranes; Not Unlike Number 10; In Trees; Fieda Mytlie.
Personnel: Gerald Cleaver: drums; William Parker: bass; Craig Taborn: piano.