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Eric Revis Trio: Crowded Solitudes

Mark Corroto By

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Listening to a recording, one can assume, as opposed to attending a performance, involves just one of your five senses, hearing. The concert has of course sight, but something about Eric Revis' Crowded Solitudes suggests other senses to consider. This trio recording follows City Of Asylum (Clean Feed, 2013). Revis has retained pianist Kris Davis, but Gerald Cleaver replaces Andrew Cyrille at the drum chair.

Revis, the longtime bassist for Branford Marsalis, can also be heard on the highly acclaimed Aruán Ortiz Trio recording Hidden Voices (Intakt, 2016) and in collaboration with pianist Orrin Evans in various ensembles, plus their creative trio Tarbaby with Nasheet Waits. His recordings as a leader have progressed from the kitchen-sink busyness of this early efforts to a dazzling quartet session, In Memory Of Things Yet Seen (Clean Feed, 2014) and a meeting of the improvisation giants Jason Moran and Ken Vandermark on Parrallax (Clean Feed, 2012). What is evident in all his work as a leader is his knack for employing talents he is working with. He never tries to force a round peg into a square hole.

With his return to the trio format, Davis at the piano and Cleaver the drums the music rises above be merely auditory. The shortish piece "QB4R" adds a tactile sensation. Revis pulling, then sawing taut strings before plucking notes that resonate deep within the chest. Cleaver's brushes dusting cymbals and tambourine while Davis sprinkles notes like rain. It is one of three free pieces the trio recorded. The other two are the haunting "Crowded Solitudes (for B.K.)" where Revis bends bowed notes to the cymbal tap and scrape of drums and Davis' minimalist melody and the opening piece "Arcane 17" contains an entire universe of ideas. Revis' monster bass opens up to Davis fragments of a melody, as if a radio signal was cutting out. Her intermittent pieces and spasmodic parts coagulate into a percussive crescendo of energy. Davis drawn much attention with her ability to cast Cecil Taylor-like notes at one moment before switching to minimalism. She is prominently featured here, mimicking the sampled speech pattern of a child on "Bontah" and partitioning her brain on "Anamnesis -Parts I & II" with an incessant hammering left hand and gentle melodic right. Revis' composition "D.O.C." work a post-bebop swing into a modern deconstruction that doesn't eschew melody. Paul Motian's "Victoria" opens with Revis' titanic bass thundering yet gentle notes over Cleaver's brushwork. Davis renders the theme, squeezing emotion onto the sensory inputs of sound, touch, and maybe even taste.

Track Listing: Arcane; Bontah; Victoria; QB4R; D.O.C.; Crowded Solitudes (for B.K.); Vertical Hold; Anamnesis - Parts I & II.

Personnel: Kris Davis: piano; Eric Revis: double bass; Gerald Cleaver: drums.

Title: Crowded Solitudes | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

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