110

Steve Haines Quintet: Beginner's Mind

Ken Hohman By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Haines Quintet: Beginner's Mind Do bass players make better jazz records? Back in 2000, the under-rated bassist John Goldsby released Viewpoint, and I haven't stopped listening to it since. There's no denying the consistent glories of William Parker's recent run on record. And for the past year Dave Holland has been redefining the way a big band can sound, making brilliant music in the process. Now comes a remarkable debut from North Carolina double bassist and composer Steve Haines... perhaps one of the finest inside/outside records of the year.

With Beginner's Mind, Haines – an accomplished musician and director of the Miles Davis Program in Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina – has created a panoply of challenging compositions that range from powerful to beautiful. And it's not just the compositions that excite. Whether long form progressions or intimate blues, Haines' quintet is always adventurous and completely at home in his musical conception.

This is no typical jam session. The playing here is refreshingly free of clichés and ego. Take, for instance, the shimmering "Colorado" with its unforgettable sax-and-trumpet vamp and deep three-note bridge. This might be the best hard bop song of the year. Tenor saxophonist David Lown blows with superb invention as he explores deep corners within the wide harmonics of the song. Pianist Chip Crawford offers percussive counterpoint to Lown's progressively intense passages and drummer Tom Taylor really sets things on fire. By the time they reprise the bridge, you're ready to hear it all over again.

While the Haines quintet appears to have emerged fully formed, they actually played together in a well-regarded combo called the One O'Clock Lab Band. Their telepathy is apparent on "Shoshin," which features unexpected entry points for the soloists and unique changes in tempo. There's nothing predictable about the improvisational workout "Stronger Than Dirt," either. Trumpeter Rob Smith fires off sharp Lee Morgan-style attacks and Crawford displays incredible speed and technique, throwing in surprising chord substitutions and angular phrases. The driving composition "The North Shore" possesses the same mysterious qualities of some of Wayne Shorter's mid-sixties work and the up-tempo reworking of "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" is a real gem.

Through it all, Haines' supple pizzicato phrasing conveys great emotion and effectively sparks momentum. But even more worthy of praise is his willingness to shun the spotlight and let the songs stretch out organically.

Beginner's Mind is a sparkling effort. Too often, ensembles like these are victims of attrition. One can only hope that this is the first of many to come from the Steve Haines Quintet.


Track Listing: 1. The North Shore 2. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child 3. Colorado 4. Stronger Than Dirt 5. End Of A Love Story 6. Shoshin 7. Everybody Loves Ruby 8. As Stacey Sleeps 9. Good Morning Heartache 10. Spring Is Here

Personnel: Steve Haines: double bass. David Lown: tenor saxophone. Chip Crawford: piano. Tom Taylor: drums.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Artists House | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Harmonicus Rex" CD/LP/Track Review Harmonicus Rex
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 21, 2016
Read "A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke" CD/LP/Track Review A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 9, 2016
Read "Old Locks And Irregular Verbs" CD/LP/Track Review Old Locks And Irregular Verbs
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "Magic Peterson Sunshine" CD/LP/Track Review Magic Peterson Sunshine
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by John Kelman
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "One For Cisco" CD/LP/Track Review One For Cisco
by John Sharpe
Published: May 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!