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...

250

Peter Epstein/Brad Shepik/Matt Kilmer: Lingua Franca

By

Sign in to view read count
Like what's being done by many creative musicians today, including Kenny Wheeler, Bill Frisell, and Brian Blade's Fellowship, the music and approach on Lingua Franca are better described as searching than the more common burning. Peter Epstein, Brad Shepik, and Matt Kilmer trade more in water than fire. This is not a value judgement, just a shift of intent and perspective. Though rooted in the jazz aesthetics of improvisation and group interaction, Lingua Franca is not jazz with a capital "J." Imagine the Lovano/Frisell/Motian trio playing a mix of jazz/world/folk tunes instead of standards and avant-garde music.

The first track is the ringer. "Two Door" is the kind of tune that stays with you for weeks after your first spin, and you want to hear it again and again. It contains much of what makes the entire CD so enjoyable and interesting: Eastern-influenced melodies and harmony, shades of the blues, splitting the difference between simple and complex, and often between light and dark. The piece occasionally recalls (somewhat obliquely) parts of the Doors' epic song "The End" (with much of the darkness removed), which scores the opening bombing sequence of Apocalypse Now. Imagine the Republican Party's spin machine (instead of Coppola) re-cutting and scoring Apocalypse Now Redux to give the war a slightly "lighter" feeling, and this tune would be a good choice to replace "The End."

Drones, vamps, odd time signatures, and open sections are used throughout the record to create spaces that encourage interaction. While the music mainly follows a head-solo-head form, the players' engagement with one another makes the improvisations feel less like traditional "solos."

Shepik plays mostly electric guitar and his tone reflects his style: crisp and warm, relatively straight and simple. Never overbearing in his use of effects (unobtrusive octaver, reverb, occasional overdub), Shepik often plays simply but never simplistically. He's particularly sensitive and succinct on his own compositions, "Two Door" and the beautiful, folksy ballad "Emerald."

Matt Kilmer is a mindful, melodic, and creative percussionist. In this bass-less trio, he's able to take on the added responsibilty of being the main timekeeper without giving up his role as colorist and shaper of space. His developement of assured pulses and deep grooves that are both comfortable and challenging provide perfect canvases for Epstein and Shepik to explore.

Epstein's tone on alto is warm and singing. While it's nearly devoid of Western jazz cliches, it's apparent that he's gone through all that stuff. He's just digested it and put it back out through a personal musical prism. While Epstein could be considered the leader (it's debatable and not altogether relevant), this is a truly democratic trio. Shepik's writing is the strongest, and while different instruments could be substituted for guitar or saxophone, without Kilmer's varied skills/vibes/sound sources, this recording could not work. Like many excellent recordings, the first time you hear Lingua Franca you're impressed. Every time after that just gets better.


Track Listing: Two Door; Miro; Emerald; Temoin; Here & There; Monsaraz; Kumanovo; Sunrise; Meditation; Improvisation 1.

Personnel: Peter Epstein: alto and soprano saxophone; Brad Shepik: guitars; Matt Kilmer: percussion.

Title: Lingua Franca | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings

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.

Creamy Center

Creamy Center

Peter Epstein
Abstract Realism

Keystone

Keystone

Peter Epstein
The Dark

Dark Matter

Dark Matter

Peter Epstein
The GADfly

Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Polarities

Polarities

Songlines Recordings
2014

buy
Abstract Realism

Abstract Realism

Origin Records
2010

buy
 

Green-wood

Songlines Recordings
2008

buy
Lingua Franca

Lingua Franca

Songlines Recordings
2005

buy
 

Almas/Solus

MA Recordings
2000

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 "Love & Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Love & Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "IMA IMA" CD/LP/Track Review IMA IMA
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "Awakening" CD/LP/Track Review Awakening
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 2, 2018
Read "Lala Belu" CD/LP/Track Review Lala Belu
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 27, 2018
Read "Uncharted Territories" CD/LP/Track Review Uncharted Territories
by Don Phipps
Published: October 6, 2018
Read "Sorrows & Triumphs" CD/LP/Track Review Sorrows & Triumphs
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 25, 2018