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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lantner: Given - Live In Munster

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What is called free jazz can cover a very wide spectrum of creative music, not all of which is as unfettered as the name implies. At the most basic level, choice of instrumentation is a clear limitation, while pre-agreed moods or written heads may further reduce the possibilities. On Given, the second release by Boston-based pianist Steve Lantner's quartet, the two predetermined elements were that the players use the intervallic structure 0146 (a four-note series such as C, D-flat, E, F-sharp) and that they play a single continuous piece. So how does that translate into a listening ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lantner Quartet: Given - Live In Munster

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Pianist Steve Lantner possesses the uncanny and, in certain respects, enviable manner to triumphantly fuse free-jazz elements with microtonal inferences and the twelve-tone system. With a superb support structure in place featuring a wonderful foil in multi-reedman Allan Chase, Lantner's quartet presents a study in contrasts, all enhanced with its radiating contrapuntal maneuvers and synergistic group-centric dialogues.

Recorded live at the International Jazzfestival in Munster, Germany, the musicians project lucid imagery as they brew and then recycle an amalgamation of interrelated themes. Lantner scurries, weaves and pursues meticulous chord progressions along with Chase's multilayered phrasings. Here, the soloists ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lantner Trio: What You Can Throw

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Seamlessly integrating divergent threads of musical history into a singular style, Boston-based pianist Steve Lantner has established himself as an artist to watch. His third trio recording and fifth as a leader, What You Can Throw is definitive--a swinging maelstrom of lyrically disjointed melodies and abstruse rhythms.

Lantner is joined by his regular rhythm section, featuring Joe Morris on upright bass and Luther Gray on drums. Heavyweights of the Boston free jazz scene, Lantner, Morris and Gray have played together in numerous permutations, establishing a sense of interplay born of years of close-knit collaboration. Their symbiotic interaction has ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lantner Trio: What You Can Throw

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There are times, during the loping, rollicking “New Routine" which opens this album by pianist Steve Lantner's trio, that it sounds, and even more emphatically, feels like you are listening to one of pianist/composer Thelonious Monk's great trios of the early 1950s--shades of “Blue Monk," “Bemsha Swing" and “Little Rootie Tootie" jostle, accommodate and morph into each other, fresh-hewn and vigorous. The Monkish traces extend beyond the off-kilter theme and Lantner's exploration of it, in which consonance and dissonance constantly, and engagingly, rub shoulders, percolating too through Joe Morris' rugged walking bass and Luther Gray's precise, hard-swinging drums.

INTERVIEWS

Steve Lantner: An Introduction

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Steve Lantner's current run of creative output may be below the radar, but the quality of his recordings is off the charts. His debut as bandleader came in 1997 alongside longtime cohort/violist/violinist Mat Maneri in an adventurous set of duets that had Lantner playing both acoustic piano and a synthesizer set ninety degrees apart [Reaching (Leo)]. Lantner furthered his exploration of microtonalities on Voices Lowered (Leo 2001), where he played two pianos tune ¼ pitch apart alongside Joe Maneri and Joe Morris playing electric violins. Notably, the multi-talented Morris' first recording as a bassist--a debut Lantner prefers to take no ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lantner Quartet: Paradise Road

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Three tracks and 56 minutes deep, Paradise Road is a workout--for listener and artists alike. The moods range from caffeinated and frenetic to thoughtful and subdued, with each member of the quartet holding the spotlight for a moment and none outshining the other. Steve Lantner's compositions bring together the best of the American and European avant-garde. A comparison to Matthew Shipp would be justified, as the two seem to associate with the same circle of friends (Mat and Joe Maneri, Joe Morris), though Lantner also finds congress with the Chicago scene of Ken Vandermark, Nate McBride and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lantner Quartet: Paradise Road

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Recorded live at the Skycap Festival in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Paradise Road is the debut recording of pianist Steve Lantner's new quartet. Lantner's trio, last heard on Blue Yonder (Skycap, 2005), featured the energetic pianist accompanied by Joe Morris and Luther Gray, on bass and drums respectively. The spirited trio is now a quartet, augmented by saxophonist Allan Chase, well known for his turbulent excursions in Rashied Ali's Prima Materia project.

Unedited, the concert consists of three lengthy pieces, all based on a series of intervallic pitch sets. These structures serve as guides, rather than limitations. Focusing their improvisations ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lantner Trio: Blue Yonder

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Pianist Steve Lantner, an active player in Boston's improvised music community, has an ear for the unexpected. His last trio outing, Saying So, established him as a literate, empathetic voice devoted to expanding language and lyricism through understatement. On this freely improvised followup, he breaks down a number of barriers, exploring territory marked by more overt dissonance and wider emotional dynamics--often doing so by leaping and bounding, rather than assembling careful, flowing statements.

His partners on Blue Yonder, a live recording at Cambridge's Zeitgeist Gallery, are two other New Englanders: veteran guitarist-cum-bassist Joe Morris, an important collaborator who ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lantner Trio: Saying So

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On Saying So, free jazz pianist Steve Lantner gives new meaning to the word lyrical. He extends beyond gentle melodies to emphasize communication, and thus tell a story. Lantner builds statements, exclamations, and questions--and that feeling comes from his phrasing. When he's out front, Lantner has a particularly articulate way of putting things together. It's not the pointed lightning stabs of Cecil Taylor or the dark, angular thrusts of Matthew Shipp. Instead, Lantner relies on understatement and a gentle touch to make the music work. And it works. Consistently throughout each of these four extended pieces (seven to thirty minutes ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lantner Trio: Saying So

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This recording and guitarist Joe Morris' Age of Everything represent two new releases on Morris' revitalized Riti Records label.

Based on two previous outings for Leo Records, modern jazz/improvising pianist Steve Lantner's radiantly novel approach contains the stuff that provides the earmarks for a fruitful career. He has recorded with Mat Maneri (violin) and Joe Morris (guitar) yet here, Morris switches over to the bass while Laurence Cook (drums) rounds out this high-spirited trio date. Lantner's mode of execution is rooted upon an understated sense of urgency, awash with symmetrical patterns and Thelonious Monk-like use of space and ...



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