All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

11

Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth: Epicenter

Dave Wayne By

Sign in to view read count
Conceived as a continuous seven-part extended work for his band, Bigmouth, the first seven tracks on Chris Lightcap's Epicenter are as remarkable for their diversity as they are for the ways in which they're tied together. The unifying theme here is "New York: Lost and Found," and the music could indeed work as a sort of conceptual portrait of the city's colorful population and little-known, out-of-the-way nooks and crannies.

Lightcap's band, now well into its second decade of existence, has weathered only a couple of personnel changes over the years; just the departure of tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry (replaced by Chris Cheek) and the addition of multi-keyboardist Craig Taborn. All the while, Lightcap's worked with an impressive array of artists from within and without the jazz firmament. Starting out in the early 1990s with Ed Blackwell's quartet, the Latrobe, PA native went on to forge significant musical partnerships with Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Regina Carter and Matt Wilson. He's also worked with singer-songwriter (and actor) Glen Hansard (The Frames, The Swell Season), blues-rocker (and Beck sideman) Smokey Hormel , and surf guitarist Joao Erbetta. The wide sweep of Lightcap's musical interests are in plain view throughout Epicenter, though the music here is firmly, unabashedly, and emphatically part of the jazz world.

As we've seen, long-lived musical associations often bear singular musical fruit. The quintet doesn't just barrel through Lightcap's polystylistic inventions. They really dig down deep into each piece, uncovering hidden nuances. Taborn's use of the Wurlitzer electric piano isn't a nod to fusion or hip-hop; the veteran keyboardist has developed a distinctive approach to the instrument that emphasizes its oddly woody-sounding, harp-like timbre. This is most evident on "Arthur Avenue," a plaintive, slow-moving piece featuring the muezzin cries of the twin tenors over the rambling, pattering rhythm section. The swiftly free-bopping title track dials in a fractured, convoluted, yet gleeful melody that would make Ornette Coleman proud. "Stillwell" has a floating ECM-like quality and a drawn-out, folksy melody that's grounded by a fetching ostinato played in tandem by Taborn and Lightcap. Almost unimaginably tender, "Stone by Stone" literally floats a few feet off the ground, Cheek and Tony Malaby soloing unfettered as the rhythm section coalesces beneath. The overall effect of this piece is not unlike the sound that Alice Coltrane came up with back when she was working with Frank Lowe and Pharoah Sanders. Two shorter pieces, the lovely "Down East" (a bit reminiscent of Kevin Eubanks' work) and the anthemic rocker "White Horse" downplay jazz improvisation, developing very quickly and dissipating like puddles after a brief thunderstorm. Throughout the album, drummer Gerald Cleaver is simply masterful, wringing a dizzying array of sounds, textures, and rhythms out of a relatively simple drum setup.

A wild-and-wooly version of "All Tomorrow's Parties" is Lightcap's coup de chapeau to the late rocker, and long time New York City denizen, Lou Reed. There couldn't possibly be a more fitting epilog to the young bassist's own personal love letter to the city.

Track Listing: Nine South; White Horse; Epicenter; Arthur Avenue; Down East; Stillwell; Stone by Stone; All Tomorrow's Parties.

Personnel: Chris Lightcap: bass, acoustic guitar, organ; Craig Taborn: Wurlitzer, electric piano, piano, organ; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Chris Cheek: tenor saxophone; Gerald Cleaver: drums, percussion.

Title: Epicenter | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Epicenter

Epicenter

Chris Lightcap
Epicenter

Multiple Reviews
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Epicenter

Epicenter

Clean Feed Records
2015

buy
Deluxe

Deluxe

Clean Feed Records
2010

buy
 

Circle Down

482 Music
2009

buy
Big Mouth

Big Mouth

Blue Moon
2003

buy

Related Articles

Read Fearless And Kind CD/LP/Track Review
Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Any Day Now CD/LP/Track Review
Any Day Now
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Adrift CD/LP/Track Review
Adrift
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Folkjazz from Finland CD/LP/Track Review
Folkjazz from Finland
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "The Best of the Grateful Dead Live" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of the Grateful Dead Live
by Doug Collette
Published: April 27, 2018
Read "Osmosis" CD/LP/Track Review Osmosis
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 25, 2018
Read "We Out Here" CD/LP/Track Review We Out Here
by Chris May
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "Between Systems and Grounds" CD/LP/Track Review Between Systems and Grounds
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 5, 2018
Read "4" CD/LP/Track Review 4
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 27, 2018
Read "Strata" CD/LP/Track Review Strata
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 5, 2018