177

Stephen Haynes: Parrhesia

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Stephen Haynes: Parrhesia There's something about the plain brown recycled chipboard sleeve of Parrhesia, with its letter-pressed script, which relates to the music contained inside. It's not just the concern for sustainability, but also the understated, organic yet singular nature of the package. Trumpeter Stephen Haynes' leadership debut has been a long time coming, which perhaps suggests undue modesty. Mentor Bill Dixon looms large in the trumpeter's resume, but Haynes has been active since the early '70s, with many renowned leaders including composer George Russell, bassist Alan Silva, fellow cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, and, not least, pianist Cecil Taylor, as part of his AHA! Orchestra.

Joining the brassman for this program of collectively birthed pieces are master percussionist Warren Smith and fellow Connecticut native Joe Morris, on electric guitar. The promotional material helpfully defines "parrhesia" as meaning "to speak everything" and, by extension, "to speak freely." But that just captures one aspect of the seven tripartite creations captured here: while they range freely, they avoid the obvious in doing so. Often carved out at the extremes of instrumental language, there is nonetheless a narrative impulse; a sense of stories being recounted, even if their meaning cannot be deciphered.

The eerie "Reclamation" furnishes a perfect example: its muffled otherworldly opening conjured from shuffling rhythm, groaning guitar and muted brass mutterings and gurgling to evoke some obscure occult ritual. Neither guitar nor trumpet match their expected sonic profiles, here or throughout much of this disc. Haynes sweeps from the abstractedly lyrical to the near demented, from lilting wah wah murmurs to deep buzzing growls. One characteristic of his playing (also adopted by Bynum) is his extensive use of mutes to bend and vocalize notes and set up contrasting voices. Morris' crablike scuttling in the bass register and indeterminate tapping on his detuned guitar, together with Smith's predilection for marimba, creates a haunting and unpredictable experience.

It all combines to produce a delight for those who like to delve into timbral detail, to revel in the weight attached to each sound and the subtle changes in the intonation of breath through brass. The only misfire comes on "Yet and Still," where Smith's recitation suffers the problem of most others, in that the words don't stand up to the repeated listening which the music demands. Even here, there is some redemption in Haynes' fine concluding series of piercing clarion calls over a gentle drifting undercurrent. It's introversion, laced with flashes of passionate intensity, which could act as a summation for this intriguing set.


Track Listing: Reclamation; Quietude; Invocation; Flowers for Ida; St. Louis Sonority; Yet and Still; Unfolding.

Personnel: Stephen Haynes: trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, mutes; Warren Smith: drums, percussion, marimba, voice; Joe Morris: electric guitar.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Engine | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Horizon Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Horizon Ahead
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 17, 2016
Read "Ariha Brass Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Ariha Brass Quartet
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 22, 2016
Read "Travels" CD/LP/Track Review Travels
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 27, 2016
Read "Choice" CD/LP/Track Review Choice
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 9, 2016
Read "To The Universe" CD/LP/Track Review To The Universe
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "Rough Enough" CD/LP/Track Review Rough Enough
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 7, 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!