"Nine South" from New York bassist Chris Lightcap's Epicenter ignites the rhythm sense with its undeniable influence from West African music. Written as part of a commissioned work granted by Chamber Music America New Jazz Works, the piece was inspired by Lightcap's routine drive into Manhattan. Propelled by contagious hooks, fiery solos, and powerful harmonies, the music is driven by Lightcap's Big Mouth, a dynamic band of jazz progressives who have performed sporadically together for over 10 years.
The multidimensional Craig Taborn, here on Wurlitzer, leads the opening theme which is shadowed by stirring horn swells from saxophonists Chris Cheek and Tony Malaby. Taborn later opens up the groove with an expansive solo with nimble and exploring playing followed by a inquisitive and soulful statement by Malaby.
The piece moves from infectious dance music to almost unhinging itself when suddenly the syncopation changes and Taborn presents a new ostinato while drummer Gerald Cleaver performs as if he's in a feverish trance with an unbridled yet dexterous solo. It's all masterfully held together by Lightcap's punchy arco in an opening track that grabs and refuses to let you go.
Nine South; White Horse; Epicenter; Arthur Avenue; Down East; Stillwell; Stone by Stone;
All Tomorrow's Parties.
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.