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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stephan Crump / Kris Davis / Eric McPherson: Asteroidea

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When one hears the slightly ominous bass-register ostinato from Kris Davis's piano at the outset of the Borderlands Trio's debut album, Asteroidea, a spirit of mystery and intrigue quickly emerges. Its repetitive effect is hypnotic, and it creates the kind of mood you'd expect in classic film noir, where the unexpected is lurking right around the corner. A willingness to venture into the unknown is at the heart of the music, and bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Eric McPherson play ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Borderlands Trio: Asteroidea

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I'll venture a guess that the listing of the names on Borderlands Trio's cover is arranged in alphabetic order, Crump, Davis, then McPherson. That is because nothing in the performance reveals a leader, nor a dominant signature. For adventurous listeners, isn't that exactly what we want from our improvisors? Let's stick with just Borderlands Trio. Asteroidea is a collective effort with each of the musicians credited for all of the music, and all of the music is improvised. ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Kris Davis and Craig Taborn Live at The Wexner Center For The Arts

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Kris Davis and Craig Taborn The Wexner Center For The Arts Columbus, OH October 7, 2016 The two-week, 12 city tour was billed as Kris Davis and Craig Taborn piano duos. It might have been better advertised as a solo act, let's call it 'Davborn' or maybe 'Krisaig.' This is because Friday night, the pianists' two hearts beat as one, as did their sound. Davis has recently released her new ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kris Davis: Duopoly

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Query: when does improvised music appear more arranged than written compositions? The question is not a zen koan, it is the notion put forth by the sixteen duets performed by pianist Kris Davis and her eight collaborating partners. Davis, who can no longer be labeled a “rising star" of jazz and improvised piano, is a fully formed mature performer. Her dozen or so discs as leader and multiple collaborations with Michael Formanek, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, Jon Irabagon, and Eric ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kris Davis Infrasound: Save Your Breath

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Nascent New York-based pianist, composer Kris Davis presents a musical journey that may be akin to navigating through a dense forest via snaking trails, rolling hills and dusky caves. With a first-class supporting cast , the pianist's comprehensive works emphasize her luminous imaginative powers. Several movements are fashioned with cascading horns passages, supple deviations and variable cadences amid the conventional dips and spikes as the band slips, slides and locks into alternating rhythmic parameters. Davis' compositional style incorporates ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kris Davis: Massive Threads

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The first five minutes of “Ten Exorcists," the opening track of Massive Threads by pianist Kris Davis, consists of minimalist repetitive percussive playing of her prepared piano. The Steve Reich-like repetition mimics percussive tape-loops that cease, but the momentum endures and lays the foundation for her solo. This solo outing benefits from Davis' classically trained ear, the follow-up to her first solo attempt Aeriol Piano (Clean Feed, 2011). Her background has earned her praise, writing for jazz ensembles ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kris Davis: Capricorn Climber

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Relocating from her native Canada to New York City, pianist Kris Davis has infused her imposing talents into New York City's unconventional, downtown-like scene. She once again aligns her compositional and improvisation expertise with like-minded artists, who frequently transition the jazz idiom into a boundless vista. Hence, the album projects a topsy-turvy and rather oscillating aura, featuring the musicians' use of counterpoint, space, and emphatic exchanges. They mix it up, while also stretching themes to the hilt amid several introspective ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kris Davis: Good Citizen

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It's just a coincidence that pianist Kris Davis has had three stunning trio recordings released in 2010. There are the two on Clean Feed Records--Paradoxial Frog, a brilliant joint collaboration with drummer Tyshawn Sorey and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock; and Three by the SKM trio, with Davis joined by saxophonist Stephen Gauci and bassist Michael Bisio. But it's no coincidence that Davis' percussive style and edgy invention is also present in Good Citizens, another clear visage of her abilities as a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kris Davis / Ingrid Laubrock / Tyshawn Sorey: Paradoxical Frog

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There's so much music bursting out of saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, and her cultural reference points are so diverse, that you never quite know, as you take a disc out of the sleeve for the first time, what she's going to be up to--aside from going further. The intriguing Paradoxical Frog contains more surprises. Among the first fruits of Laubrock's more or less full-time relocation from London to Brooklyn, the album is a trio set made with pianist Kris ...


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