Steve Colson: The Untarnished Dream (2010)
The embracing of jazz tradition while simultaneously reinterpreting is pianist Adegoke Steve Colson's pedigree and he continues to enrich us with every challenging note. The Untarnished Dream is more than a standard jazz trio session. With bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille as fellow standard bearers, Colson vividly interprets several original tunes he has composed throughout his distinguished (if somewhat overlooked) career.
Colson's writing skills and the trio's musical excellence are on display immediately. The cleverly titled "Circumstantial" revolves around a standard jazz structure but the band deftly sidesteps it by veering into the free and open; only someone with Colson's talent could write something that walked this line so easily. "Maybe" is in the true bop tradition, featuring Colson's fine phrasing and Workman's deep in-the-gut plucking. Workman's bass also sets the stage for "Parallel Universe," one of the CD's impressionistic pieces. The background, like space itself, is "empty," but Workman provides substance with a glissando-framed pizzicato and the furrowed brow of his arco. Colson takes the spotlight with the articulate and complex solo effort "Warriors," rich with elements of stride and boogie-woogie. Colson and Cyrille duet wonderfully on "Iqua's Waltz"; the great drummer as nimble as a tap dancer on brushes.
Iqua happens to be Colson's wife and lends her distinctive singing voice to several songs. On the ballad "Digression," she suggests Sarah Vaughan and while the lyrics aren't overpowering her voice helps carry the tune. Her poetic incantations rise above the controlled chaos of "Triumph of the Outcasts Coming" but she fits best on the ambitious "And It Was Set In Ivory," a percussive kaleidoscope with Africa-inflected aural effects and instrumentation.
Track Listing: Circumstantial; Digression; Iqua's Waltz; Triumph of the Outcasts; Coming; Maybe; Parallel Universe; The Untarnished Dream; Warriors; And It Was Set In Ivory.
Personnel: Adegoke Steve Colson: piano; Reggie Workman: bass; Andrew Cyrille: drums; Iqua Colson: vocals.
Record Label: Silver Sphinx
Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde