293

Uri Caine: Live at the Village Vanguard

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Uri Caine: Live at the Village Vanguard It was much easier on us jazz critics when discs used to just barely break the half-hour mark. Jazz is often dense, complex music which requires a great deal of attention to decipher, and we've got piles of the stuff to get through. Which is why, as good as it is—and it's often spectacularly good—Uri Caine's Live at the Village Vanguard almost feels like a comeuppance. Weighing in at a whopping 76:46 minutes, longer by far than any one jazz set you're likely to see (indeed, the disc was culled from performances over three nights at the legendary venue), the disc is challenging, thrilling and, ultimately, exhausting.

One of jazz's most eclectically erudite players, Caine's appetite for musical forms and connections is voracious; he's done extensive reworkings of Mahler and Wagner, dipped deeply into Jewish traditionalism, and delved into just about everything else—he consumes and processes all. (During his June week at the Village Vanguard during the JVC festival, he felt compelled to bring in a different band in each night.)

And so the trio disc with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Ben Perowsky is, as you would expect of the irrepressible, 48-year-old Caine, stylistically all over the map. The disc opens with an all-out tour de force, a dazzlingly resourceful romp through Wayne Shorter's "Nefertiti" (establishing definitively Caine's A-list, post bop keyboard credentials), then tiptoes into an emotional reading of the Jimmy van Heusen standard "All the Way," so painfully fragile in comparison to the brawling first number that the effect is dizzying.

And so it goes. The spiky, dynamic original "Stilletto" moves into a fractured, mid-tempo stride reading of another Van Heusen tune, "I Thought About You," which is followed by three more Caine compositions, including the dark, fascinating "Otello" and the molasses-slow, Vince Guaraldi-inflected blues "Go Deep," and then suddenly we're out dancing at high speed with Irving Berlin's baby, "Cheek to Cheek," so drastically overhauled you may be halfway into its nine-plus minutes before you realize what it is. And there's still two more Caine tunes to wade through before we're out: the gracefully '70s-funk-inflected "Most Wanted," and finally "BushWack," which plays ominously with the "Wedding March" before heading for the post bop hills.

Relentlessly inventive and completely idiosyncratic, Live at the Village Vanguard is a masterwork from a pianist at the very top of his game—just be prepared to give it all the time it demands.


Track Listing: Nefertiti; All the Way; Stiletto; I Thought About You; Otello; Snaggletooth; Go Deep; Cheek to Cheek; Most Wanted; BushWack

Personnel: Uri Caine: piano; Drew Gress: bass; Ben Perowsky: drums.

Title: Live at the Village Vanguard | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Winter & Winter


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read We Know Not What We Do CD/LP/Track Review We Know Not What We Do
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Slade Alive! CD/LP/Track Review Slade Alive!
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 21, 2017
Read Hope CD/LP/Track Review Hope
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 21, 2017
Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "My Head Is Listening" CD/LP/Track Review My Head Is Listening
by John Sharpe
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Velcro Bird" CD/LP/Track Review Velcro Bird
by John Eyles
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "The Deep" CD/LP/Track Review The Deep
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: July 4, 2017
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Regards To You II" CD/LP/Track Review Regards To You II
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Astrometrics" CD/LP/Track Review Astrometrics
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 13, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!