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Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth: Epicenter

Mark Corroto By

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Chris Lightcap is a bassist's bassist. As a sideman to leaders such as Regina Carter, Matt Wilson, Joe Morris, Marc Ribot, and Craig Taborn, his rock-solid timekeeping can be quite inconspicuous. He is a sort of steadfast superglue that leaders and composers hold in high regard.

As a leader and composer, there is another Chris Lightcap. Epicenter, is his third Bigmouth release, following the quintet Deluxe (Clean Feed, 2010) and a quartet Bigmouth (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2002). He continues to display his ability to sculpt music utilizing a two-tenor saxophone lineup. Previously recording with Tony Malaby and Bill McHenry, then Malaby and Andrew D'Angelo, and now Malaby and Chris Cheek.

The first seven tracks here, "Lost And Found: New York" were commissioned by the Chamber Music America New Jazz Works in 2011. Lightcap's writing draws from the old jazz avant-garde that didn't eschew tempo and infectious pulse. The opening track "Nine South," with Craig Taborn reiterating Wurlitzer piano notes, weaves an intricate counterpane of sound. That quilt, perhaps comforter, is a synthesis of the absorbing groove laid down by the bassist and drummer Gerald Cleaver and the two tenor attack. The brusque sound of Malaby is juxtaposed by Cheek's amicable approach. The title track, a take-off on the early music Ornette Coleman, pops with energy and vigor. The music spills both sweet and savory, with the rhythm section set to parboil.

With the keyboards of Taborn, the options available to Lightcap appear endless. He can play circular new music, hammer out a dense cloud of sound, and switch between acoustic and electric piano and organ. "Down East" is a pounding composition that is mulch for his band to attack and "Stillwell" and "Stone By Stone" wind gentler harmonies around each other. Lou Reed's "All Tomorrow's Parties" recalls the majesty of The Velvet Underground. Reminding us how guttersnipes can also be royalty.

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.

Album information

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

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