Kali. Z. Fasteau: Piano Rapture

John Ephland By

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What makes Piano Rapture so engaging has to do with a combination of moods, movements and magic. Pianist Kali. Z. Fasteau takes you on a musical journey into both past and present, with sounds that can be lyrical and rambunctious, quiet and rowdy. Featuring some exquisite wailing and sailing from tenor saxophonist Kidd Jordan, with healthy doses also coming from two other reed players—Lee Mixashawn Rozie on soprano and tenor along with a little flute here and there and some djembe, J.D. Parran playing alto flute and alto clarinet—as well as percussionist Ron Mcbee, Fasteau's guided muse suggests a bit of time-traveling jazz as well with the emphasis on the outer realms.

As the CD cover describes it, "All music on this CD is through-composed spontaneously!" (Emphasis courtesy of Fasteau, no doubt). Indeed, the down-home feel of this music, varying as it goes and flows, isn't all one thing, Instead, what's delivered is a cogent series of group explorations, with Fasteau pretty much always in the driver's seat. But not really. Subtitled "New Works On Piano," the "rapture" could be termed a kind of serial rapture, as in, there are many, the leader always present whether she's playing or not, whether her quixotic Cecil Taylor-or Sun Ra-esque excursions (to pick just two kindred spirits who comes to mind) are leading the charge or she's hovering her various reed player guests with a kind of artist-meets-artist vibe. Yes, there are ten selections with titles (see below), but, as with such ambitious undertakings as this, one can hear Piano Rapture as a suite. There are also voices, organ and electric piano and other percussion heard. And as it is "through-composed spontaneously," there are also composer credits, Fasteau sharing those credits with certain of the players here.

And while the recording itself sounds like a bootleg, this only adds to its charm, the live performances (from different venues) over and over again suggesting something sweet one moment, something full of anxious doom the next. It's the give and take, the jazz esthetic, the pulse never really settled as these sometimes wayward excursions mount.

The price of freedom is a not-always perfect storm. And yet, in that imperfection, there is a kind of perfection, the spontaneity risking brilliance in place of the mundane or seemingly commonplace. These are "new works on piano" by Fasteau. It remains for the listener to determine where the composer begins and and expression, with all its various members, ends.

Track Listing: Another Southpaw; Body Wisdom; Faun Listening; Mix Flies; Hai Tchicai; Roy's Wake; Etherea; Kinetic Keys; Attuned; Taliswoman.

Personnel: Kali Z. Fasteau, piano, electric piano, organ, voice; Kidd Jordan, tenor saxophone; L. Mixashawn Rozie, soprano and tenor saxophones, flute, djembe; J.D. Parran, alto flute, alto clarinet; Ron McBee, percussion.

Title: Piano Rapture | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Flying Note Records

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