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 Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Beauty Within" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty Within
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 3, 2016
Read "The Long Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Road
by Troy Collins
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Reflection" CD/LP/Track Review Reflection
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'" CD/LP/Track Review Greatest Licks - I Feel Like Singin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four" CD/LP/Track Review B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Better By Far" CD/LP/Track Review Better By Far
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 17, 2017

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!