283

Taylor Ho Bynum / John Hebert / Gerald Cleaver: Book Of Three

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Taylor Ho Bynum / John Hebert / Gerald Cleaver: Book Of Three While trumpet plus rhythm trios are not a dime a dozen, they are becoming increasingly common currency. Following after Stephen Haynes' Parrhesia (Engine, 2011) and Kirk Knuffke's Chew Your Food (No Business Records, 2010), arrives an entry by the adventurous threesome of cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, bassist John Hébert and drummer Gerald Cleaver. Though the title references Lloyd Alexander's children's favorite, it also neatly fits the ethos of three clearly separate authors who nevertheless meld their ideas into nine unified chapters.

Though the chops of all three are a given, they don't flaunt their prowess. Indeed the whole album could be characterized as understated, not only in its virtuosity but also in its melodies, with the four original compositions barely more explicit than the five group improvs. Bynum, who inexorably transcends his relationships with legends such as saxophonist Anthony Braxton and trumpeter Bill Dixon, is a master of dynamics, color and timbre (particularly with his fondness for mutes), waxing alternately puckish and world weary. Hébert consolidates a big sound with a penchant for recurrent bass figures which assume disproportionate significance through contrast with the surrounding stealthy interplay. Cleaver here proves himself a virtuoso of subtle underpinning, trading in small indeterminate tapping and muted cymbal splashes: shifting sands which rarely create any sustained meter. In many ways his performance recalls his fine contribution to the celebrated Farmers By Nature (AUM Fidelity, 2009), another largely improvised outing with pianist Craig Taborn and bassist William Parker.

At times it feels like catching just tantalizing snippets from a compelling private conversation. "White Birch" pitches slow trumpet and bass against faster drums, setting a mysterious mood, as if in the aftermath of some unspeakable tragedy, while the splendid "Digging for Clams" hinges around a passage of incandescent brass star-bursts above one of Hébert's patented motifs. "Binumbed" paradoxically is almost a feature for Cleaver's roiling drums, grounding the wah wah trumpet and arco drone. While the erstwhile dedicatee opens "Air Bear" with an advanced brass masterclass full of pinched squeals and split tone whistles presaging a construct assembled from the slightest of materials. Another high point comes on "Sevens Second Edition" where an off kilter sway prompts oblique commentary from composer Bynum.

This is not a release that provides instant gratification. Book of Three both demands and sustains the repeated listening needed to appreciate its latent charms.

Track Listing: White Birch; Digging for Clams; Death Star; Sevens First Edition; Meat Cleaver; Binumbed; Air Bear; Sevens Second Edition; How Low.

Personnel: Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, flugelhorn, bass trumpet, trumpbone; John Hebert: double bass; Gerald Cleaver: drums, percussion.

Title: Book Of Three | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Rogue Art


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Harlem CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Behind The Mist" CD/LP/Track Review Behind The Mist
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 30, 2017
Read "Reunion – Live From Cafe Oto" CD/LP/Track Review Reunion – Live From Cafe Oto
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "Pasar Klewer" CD/LP/Track Review Pasar Klewer
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke" CD/LP/Track Review The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "Color Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Color Tones
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 2, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.