80

Steve Lehman Trio: Dialect Fluorescent

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Lehman Trio: Dialect Fluorescent Decoding the music of saxophonist Steve Lehman has become a diversion for many a jazz listener (and critic). Sometimes composed with the help of programming software, his harmonies are meshed with mercurial rhythms. When played by his octet, his music gives the impression that it requires a scorecard to keep tabs on its perplexing complexities.

Then, come to think about it, a frustrated Cab Calloway in the 1940s described Dizzy Gillespie's invention bebop as "Chinese music." While "Chinese music" might not be the preferred nomenclature this century, Lehman's music (like bebop), translates well with repeated exposure and when played in a context of traditional jazz covers, three of which are heard on Dialect Fluorescent.

Lehman's approach is an amalgamation of his studies with hard-bop master Jackie McLean and his apprenticeship with jazz icon Anthony Braxton. His work with these saxophonists reveals a brainy and brawny sound. Heard here in trio with drummer Damion Reid (whose credits include pianist Robert Glasper, saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa) and bassist Matt Brewer (saxophonist Greg Osby, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba), Lehman's approach is unveiled as a sort of thinking man's hip-hop. That is, if Philip Glass played hip-hop.

The covers here are the Rosetta stone. John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice" begins as an M-Base workout that doesn't reveal the melody until the end, but drops hints from the start. Like a very familiar line from a favorite movie heard out of context, the puzzle of Lehman's approach begins to coagulate. The group approaches "Jeannine" by Duke Pearson in a straightforward manner, with Brewer's walking bass and Reid's brushwork leading into the melody that Lehman faithfully describes before dismantling it into his own language. Same for McLean's "Mr. E," a swift piece of hard bop.

The five Lehman originals then come into full light. Electronic informs but does not define his ultramodern approach. It is also assembled from modern classical and hip-hop without being classified as such. And no, it is not Chinese music either.


Track Listing: Allocentric (Into); Allocentric; Moment’s Notice; Foster Brothers; Jeannine; Alloy; Pure Imagination; Fumba Rebel; Mr. E.

Personnel: Steve Lehman: alto saxophone; Matt Brewer: bass; Damion Reid: Drums.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Pi Recordings | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Pássaros: The Foundation of the Island" CD/LP/Track Review Pássaros: The Foundation of the Island
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "The Only Way To Float Free" CD/LP/Track Review The Only Way To Float Free
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 12, 2016
Read "Copenhagen Diaries" CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Diaries
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "New Birth" CD/LP/Track Review New Birth
by Mike Jacobs
Published: July 30, 2016
Read "Take Me To The Alley" CD/LP/Track Review Take Me To The Alley
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "Steeped" CD/LP/Track Review Steeped
by John Eyles
Published: October 20, 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!