By 2018 he doesn't have to do it. Do what? Prove himself, and maybe also demonstrate the bass clarinet worthy of leading an ensemble. Jason Stein has the bona fides these days, proof being his much admired quartet and trio Locksmith Isidore. His trio was the opening act for his sister, comedian Amy Schumer's 10,000-seat arena tour the past few years and some of that rock star juju clings to After Caroline, the fourth release by Locksmith Isidore.
You can hear that in the pulse of pieces like "As Many Changes As You Need" and "We Gone" that hit as hard as any rock power trio. Drummer Mike Pride a veteran of bands like Millions Of Dead Cops, The Spanish Donkey, and Pulverize The Sound, has also recorded with Anthony Braxton and Jon Irabagon. He ignites much of this date like Max Roach, Arthur Taylor, and Elvin Jones did for Sonny Rollins trio performances. Well, not really. The closest he comes to the hip sixties bebop is on the trio's performance of John Coltrane"s "26-2." Played more or less straight, Stein displays an incredible nimbleness in his playing. Check it, yes that's a bass clarinet negotiating those spry changes.
Even with the rock star status, these cats are jazzmen and improvisers first. The trio's instant composing heard on "Sternum" is an exercise in skating the edges. Jason Roebke, a bassist heard on nearly every Chicago jazz recording made this new century, steers the improvisation through taut strings while Stein delivers some breathy flutter notes and Pride unpacks a suitcase of found percussive sounds. "Walden's Thing" unleashes Stein, his horn equalling Pride's drumming in both volume and intensity. Throughout you keep reminding yourself, yes this is a bass clarinet. The highlight here is probably "You Taught Me How To Love," a simple (and perfect) ballad dedicated to his recently passed grandmother. After Stein states the melody, Roebke solos over brushwork as the trio marries its sounds into beauty.
As Many Changes As You Need; Eckhart Park; Ida Lake; 26-2; Sternum; Walden’s thing; You Taught me
How To Love; We Gone.
Jason Stein: bass clarinet; Jason Roebke: bass; Mike Pride: drums.
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