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.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Rogue Art | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Moving Still" CD/LP/Track Review Moving Still
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 5, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Troy Collins
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Innate" CD/LP/Track Review Innate
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming" CD/LP/Track Review I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Wolf Valley" CD/LP/Track Review Wolf Valley
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

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!