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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lehman: Mise en Abîme

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Saxophonist Steve Lehman's 12th release as a leader/co-leader and his second one with an octet Mise en Abime is a cohesive work of intriguingly cerebral and dramatic nature. Like the title implies there are concepts that repeat, amplify and fade in the process of constructing and deconstructing the main themes of the album. On “Codes: Brice Wassy" vibraphonist Chris Dingman's sparse, deeply resonant strikes buoy Lehman's brisk and pensive alto that serves as an intro to this exquisitely composed piece. Trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson's clean, burnished tone echoes and embellishes the refrains of the ensemble out of which it ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lehman Octet: Mise en Abîme

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It's been five years since Steve Lehman's last Octet album, so we're now voracious for more expanded material. Right at the start, his alto saxophone is briefly alone, and then the entire ensemble weighs in, earthy yet finely controlled. Chris Dingman's customised vibraphone is absolutely central to the sound of these Lehman originals, most of which are notably brief and pointed in their attack. At a mere 40 minutes, this is a very succinct jazz album, in the old-time way. It might not be immediately apparent to the listener, but Lehman has taken the bones of three ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lehman: Mise en Abîme

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There's much ado about the co-mingling of styles, languages, and genres in saxophonist Steve Lehman's music. A good amount of what's been written about his work has focused on his use of spectral music techniques and live electronics, the specially-made microtonal vibraphone that Chris Dingman plays, and the way Lehman mixes it all together to create his own brand of creative music. It's completely understandable that those would be the talking points, but the music really speaks for itself. On Mise en Abîme, the follow-up to the Steve Lehman Octet's widely acclaimed Travail, Transformation, and Flow (Pi ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lehman: Mise en Abîme

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Composer/saxophonist Steve Lehman's credentials are as unique as his music. A Fulbright scholar with a PhD in composition, his on the job training has been at the hands of a diverse group of teachers including saxophone legends Jackie McLean and Anthony Braxton. A New York native, Lehman garnered widespread praise with the groundbreaking Travail, Transformation and Flow (Pi Recordings, 2009) and he returns with the same octet on Mise en Abîme. Lehman continues to apply a scientific approach to his ethereal compositions, studying the behavior of sounds and dissecting, restructuring and analyzing to the point where he has created something ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lehman Trio: Dialect Fluorescent

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Among studies with new music icons, reedman Anthony Braxton and trombonist George Lewis, alto saxophonist Steve Lehman has emerged as an important figures in the recent shift towards a more radical spin on jazz. Pushing the envelope is a common thrust for Lehman, who historically enjoys working within a tight-knit trio setting. On this release, he tenders a fervent mix of jazz standards and originals. Lehman's chromatic attack features a sweet-toned sound, often dissected with rippling flurries and brazen firepower to contrast a surfeit of alternating rhythmic excursions. On “Foster Brothers," the trio exercises some muscle for a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lehman: Dialect Fluorescent

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Currently a doctoral candidate in Music Composition at Columbia University, alto saxophonist Steve Lehman's previous releases for Pi Recordings include Travail, Transformation and Flow (2009), On Meaning (2007) and Demian as Post-Human (2005). On these cerebral endeavors, the former Fulbright scholar and Wesleyan graduate engaged his penchant for fusing vintage hard bop-style melodies with post-M-Base rhythmic structures--modernist affairs that deftly balanced nostalgic reverie with futuristic innovation.Compared to the high-minded conceptualism of Lehman's previous albums (the most recent explored the melodic potential of computer-derived spectral harmony), Dialect Fluorescent seems downright conventional. Split evenly between classic covers and pithy originals, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lehman Trio: Dialect Fluorescent

Read "Dialect Fluorescent" reviewed by

Decoding the music of saxophonist Steve Lehman has become a diversion for many a jazz listener (and critic). Sometimes composed with the help of programming software, his harmonies are meshed with mercurial rhythms. When played by his octet, his music gives the impression that it requires a scorecard to keep tabs on its perplexing complexities. Then, come to think about it, a frustrated Cab Calloway in the 1940s described Dizzy Gillespie's invention bebop as “Chinese music." While “Chinese music" might not be the preferred nomenclature this century, Lehman's music (like bebop), translates well with repeated exposure and ...



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