Returns to active duty are of special celebratory importance in jazz. Old lions who return from the wilderness to reclaim their place in the pride often enjoy renewed respect from both peers and pupils. What's often not addressed is the amount of effort and risk required to rebound to form. Witness the story of Henry Grimes, who managed to roll back the weight of thirty plus years and resume his career. Kalaparush fits this archetype too. His discography prior to a self-imposed absence is now smaller than the number of dates he's amassed since his return. These later sessions mostly revolve around The Light, a working trio that teams his customarily idiosyncratic tenor with the tuba and drums of two improvisors who could easily be his grandchildren in age.
The trio's previous recordingsfor CIMP, Delmark and Entropy Stereosuggest an ensemble still developing equilibrium. Part of this seems due to the singular personalities of the group, especially Kalaparush. His habit of breaking ranks with his partners and following introspective improvisatory paths can often lead to a crisis of trajectory. My initial exposure to this proclivity led me to question its intentionality versus some deficiency in the saxophonist's technique. I'm now firmly convinced that it's a function of the former. Momin's eccentric style of drumming is another factor that undermines predictability and Dulman's tuba is an unconventional voice in and of itself. These three players sometimes craft music that's few in congruous elements.
Given the presiding climate, the introduction of another self-assertive temperament to the mix might seem a scenario for calamity. Remarkably, the presence of Adam Lane on this latest outing has a converse effect. His robust bass routinely serves as harmonic glue that binds the nucleal trio together in ways they haven't achieved previously. Lane has a similar calming affect on Kalaparush on the opening duet "Dream Of...", where his pizzicato, and later arco lines rein in the saxophonist's wanderlust. The thoughtful conversation that ensues exudes easy chemistry. It's a frank and communicative feat they repeat on the closing "Confirmation."
The whirring harmonics that initiate "Dance" set another effective stage, opening into a loping nuanced rhythm and some emotionally stirring harmonies from Kalaparush and Dulman. If anything, Lane's presence seems to diminish each of the three other players' desire to rush things. There's a gradual, even methodical air to the music that allows each man to focus intently on his contributions to the whole. Minor intonation problems occasionally arise and there are pieces like the meandering "Suite For My Mother" that buckle under overly prolix exposition, but the music remains startlingly on track for the majority of its duration. The extra wattage on hand for this version of The Light, suggests that Kalaparush should strongly consider offering Lane a more permanent place in the organization. The bassist's own prolific activities probably preclude such a billet, but at least this solitary meeting exists as a template for future refinements to Kalaparush's still-evolving music.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.