195

Steve Lantner Quartet: Paradise Road

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Lantner Quartet: Paradise Road Recorded live at the Skycap Festival in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Paradise Road is the debut recording of pianist Steve Lantner's new quartet. Lantner's trio, last heard on Blue Yonder (Skycap, 2005), featured the energetic pianist accompanied by Joe Morris and Luther Gray, on bass and drums respectively. The spirited trio is now a quartet, augmented by saxophonist Allan Chase, well known for his turbulent excursions in Rashied Ali's Prima Materia project.

Unedited, the concert consists of three lengthy pieces, all based on a series of intervallic pitch sets. These structures serve as guides, rather than limitations. Focusing their improvisations with thematic logic, the formal aspects of the pieces never restrain the quartet's enthusiasm. A riot of energy and color, the musicians play with an intensity that teeters on the verge of collapse without ever losing direction.

Lantner plays with knowing precision, navigating from visceral, pneumatic clusters to scattered pointillism. His knotty phrasing is formal but unfettered, invoking early Cecil Taylor at his most assertive. The kinetic pulse of "Barrelhouse" yields passages of bop-inflected linearity, which in turn reveal subtle shades of abstraction reminiscent of the work of Andrew Hill and Horace Tapscott. Lantner even invokes the experiments of Dave Burrell and Muhal Richard Abrams with some choice, deconstructed stride interjections.

A multihued improviser, Allan Chase demonstrates kaleidoscopic versatility, veering from cathartic angularity to melodic abstraction. His keening alto sprouts truncated fragments with brisk fluidity on the tumultuous opener, "Shaking Hand." On the swinging, bop-inspired jaunt "Barrelhouse," he issues forth a slew of swirling variations on his baritone. Like his contributions to John McNeill's Gerry Mulligan tribute, East Coast Cool (Omnitone, 2006), Chase pays homage without imitation, soloing with force and harmonic audacity.

Morris and Gray draw from a long-term working relationship. Though the guitar is his primary instrument, Morris' solo contributions on bass here are as expressive as any of his contemporaries. Gray is a dynamic and powerful presence. Shifting tempos with ease, his mastery of metric modulation is striking. Together, their spasmodic, jittery rhythms fuel the quartet, whether raging fitfully on "Shaking Hand" or driving with incessant forward momentum on "Barrelhouse."

"Two Step" finds the quartet stretching dynamically, showcasing Chase's soprano in an abstractly lyrical conversation with Lantner's meandering piano. Gradually intensifying, the piece culminates in a rambunctious four-way dialogue, closing the set on a high note. Well recorded with minimal audience noise, Paradise Road is a telling document from an artist on the rise.

Visit Steve Lantner on the web.


Track Listing: Shaking Hand; Barrelhouse; Two Step.

Personnel: Steve Lantner: piano; Allan Chase: soprano, alto and baritone saxophones; Joe Morris: bass; Luther Gray: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Skycap Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "When You Wish Upon a Star" CD/LP/Track Review When You Wish Upon a Star
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 19, 2016
Read "Centreline Theory" CD/LP/Track Review Centreline Theory
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Take Me To The Alley" CD/LP/Track Review Take Me To The Alley
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "Nearly Extinct" CD/LP/Track Review Nearly Extinct
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 17, 2016
Read "Subterranea" CD/LP/Track Review Subterranea
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 9, 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!