303

Bobby Few: Lights and Shadows

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Bobby Few: Lights and Shadows Count pianist Bobby Few as one of those jazz artists deserving more recognition. Chalk his low profile up to expatriation—he's lived in Paris since 1969. Unless you've followed the career of Albert Ayler—Few played on Ayler's Music is the Healing Force of the Universe (Impulse!, 1969)—or soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy (Few was the pianist in Lacy's sextet from 1982-92), chances are that this distinctive stylist hasn't cascaded, with his lush and tumultuous approach, onto your listening radar.

Though appearing on numerous records on small European labels over the years, it has been, until recently, difficult to find Bobby Few on CD in the U.S. His teaming with reedman Avram Fefer on Kindred Spirits and Heavenly Places (both discs from Boxholder Records, 2005) and Sanctuary (CIMP Records, 2006) is beginning to rectify the "hard-to-find" aspect of Bobby Few on CD. Add to those outings this solo set, Lights and Shadows.

Solo piano, that no-net venue, is not an easy task; but nobody is better-suited to it than Bobby Few. His Continental Jazz Express (Boxholder, 2002), recorded live at the 2000 Vision Festival, is a superb example of the genre, and the title tune may be the most energized and stirring "train song" in jazz.

Lights and Shadows is a studio date, but it has all the vigor, freedom and beauty of a live outing. The title tune, at eighteen-and-a-half minutes, rumbles and rolls, segues into moments of introspective repose and churns inexorably forward, a turbulent seat-of-the-pants journey though a hilly landscape of wax and wane illuminations.

The set opens with "Bells," with Few sounding very free and at the same time very approachable, followed by the set's only non-original, Steve Lacy's "Flakes." Few can probably be categorized as a "free" player, but his freedom always feels possessed of an underlying structure, full of rich harmonies, deep melodic beauty and ongoing surprises. Lights and Shadows is an engrossing solo set from an under-recognized American master.


Track Listing: Bells; Flakes; From Different Lands; Enomis; Lights and Shadows; What You Doing?; Dreams.

Personnel: Bobby Few: piano.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Boxholder Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "My Iris" CD/LP/Track Review My Iris
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Espiritu Zombi" CD/LP/Track Review Espiritu Zombi
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "A Zoology of the Future" CD/LP/Track Review A Zoology of the Future
by John Sharpe
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "Red Nation "1"" CD/LP/Track Review Red Nation "1"
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "Time Out" CD/LP/Track Review Time Out
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: July 9, 2016
Read "My Scandinavian Blues: A Tribute to Horace Parlan" CD/LP/Track Review My Scandinavian Blues: A Tribute to Horace Parlan
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 12, 2016

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!