178

Tripleplay: Gambit

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Tripleplay: Gambit Tripleplay is, as the name implies, a trio. Chicagoan Ken Vandermark and Bostonians Curt Newton and Nate McBride coalesced once before for Expansion Slang (Boxholder, 2000), and Gambit marks their outspoken return; it's a document of explicit and articulate musical prose. Not for the weak of heart, as is evident in several places, but more restrained and methodical than you might expect.

I have to admit that I came to the music somewhat biased, never having heard a bad Vandermark record, but be that as it may, this one is up to his usual high standards. The reed player shares half of the composition credits on these eight tracks with bassist Nate McBride, but the overall shared articulation overshadows the differences between the two. At times the trio waxes lyrical, as on the sweet ballad "Tilted," where understatement from all players carries the day; or the forward-moving "Framinghammer," where simplicity is the mode and a romantic tone predominates. McBride sometimes riffs away, which reflects both his personal style and the structured emphasis of some of these pieces. The aforementioned "Framinghammer" rides on a loping bass line (complemented by drum counterpoint), and "Bird, Field (gray)" draws strength from rhythmic leads that originate in the bass.

Three of these pieces offer more dissonance than the rest. They include "Two" (dedicated to Joe Morris), which not surprisingly passes through many small intervals, bubbling and popping across bits and pieces of sound. It's not the kind of extroverted overblown expressionism that Vandermark is clearly capable of, and which he does engage in elsewhere on the record. But the most satisfying moments on Gambit occur when the trio parks its articulate, almost intellectual approach in an area that's more rough around the edges. It's that give and take which provides the tension and release here.

It's fun to hear Vandermark, McBride, and Newton swing in unexpected contexts (some times more obviously than most, and aided immensely by Newton's range), and they demonstrate a clear respect for the tradition, both inside and out. It all comes down to how many tools they have at their disposal, which as you might guess is quite a few.

Visit Clean Feed on the web.


Track Listing: Rastro 5 (for Emir Kusturica); Framinghammer; Two (for Joe Morris); Barker Waters; F-Stop (for Robert Frank); Bird, Field (gray); Hydro; Tilted (for Robert Pete Williams).

Personnel: Ken Vandermark: reeds; Nate McBride: bass; Curt Newton: drums.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records | 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 "The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix" CD/LP/Track Review The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Rope" CD/LP/Track Review Rope
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 6, 2016
Read "Beatbox Sax" CD/LP/Track Review Beatbox Sax
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Euro Swing Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Euro Swing Vol. 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "Silk & Steel" CD/LP/Track Review Silk & Steel
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 12, 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!

Buy it!