Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
321

Uri Caine Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count Views
Uri Caine Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard In a world filled with piano trios that are entrenched in furthering the impressionism of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, Uri Caine stands out as a pianist/composer whose reach is far broader. British reed player Tim Garland once described saxophonist Joe Lovano as someone who "looks forward and backwards simultaneously, covering the whole tradition, yet looking way, way forward at the same time." The same thing could be said about Caine. After a string of concept albums that have covered everything from adapting classical composers including Mahler, Bach and Schumann, to his own deeply personal takes on electronica and Brazilian music, Live at the Village Vanguard is somehow refreshing by its lack of intention. Not that Caine's more loftily conceived projects haven't been both stimulating and progressive; but sometimes it can be revealing to hear what happens when faced with nothing more than a handful of tunes and an acutely sympathetic trio.

Opening with Wayne Shorter's "Nefertiti," Caine, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Ben Perowsky immediately establish a baseline for the whole set, an approach that accedes to convention while, at the same time, defying it. Rather than staidly repeating the signature motif at a relaxed tempo as a foundation for the soloists, Caine briefly introduces the song alone, barely alluding to the theme with a hint of Monk-like broken stride before the trio enters at a clip suggesting that, indeed, nothing is sacred. Allusion to stride, in fact, shows up more than once; Caine's introduction to "I Thought About You" manages to combine it with peppered shots of the absurd, resulting in a treatment that covers the past, present and future in one fell swoop.

Caine's knowledge has always been encyclopaedic, likely the reason that he has been such an in demand player since he emerged in the early '90s, supporting everything from Don Byron's klezmer explorations to Dave Douglas' current post-Miles quintet; it is no less so here, as he incorporates influences as wide as Monk, Bley, Tatum, Hancock and Peterson, all mixed down and regurgitated in a fashion that views these sources as nothing more than links in a chain that stretches into the future.

Tracks like "Stiletto" swing fast and hard—Perowksy is on fire here, and for the entire set—while "Otello" ties into Caine's classical experiments with a romantic theme that is given a sense of urgency played over, for the most part, a pedal tone firmly held down by Gress. "Go Deep" is bluer in colour, with Gress and Perowksy in solid agreement with Caine's more abstruse treatment.

Conceding that in order to move forward one must pay respect to one's roots, Caine and the trio deliver a set that is remarkably short on the predictable. Live at the Village Vanguard proves, once again, that Caine is an artist without compromise, even when placed in a more conventional setting.


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.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Winter & Winter | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop For Jazz

Book Reviews
Live Reviews
General Articles
Live Reviews
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
[no cover]
Szpilman
JMT Productions
2014
buy
Wagner e Venezia
Wagner e Venezia
Winter & Winter
2014
buy
Uri Caine: Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
Uri Caine: Gershwin...
Winter & Winter
2014
buy
[no cover]
Rhapsody In Blue
JMT Productions
2013
buy
[no cover]
The Drummer Boy
JMT Productions
2011
buy
Siren
Siren
Winter & Winter
2011
buy
John Zorn John Zorn
sax, alto
William Parker William Parker
bass, acoustic
Marc Ribot Marc Ribot
guitar
Fred Hersch Fred Hersch
piano
Tim Berne Tim Berne
saxophone
Don Byron Don Byron
clarinet

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.