Only a bassist like Eric Revis
with a background in the origins of jazz (that is, New Orleans), hardcore, funk, and post-bop can pull off such a big project as Sing Me Some Cry
. Not big as in impenetrable, but circus tent bigassimilating all his experiences. From Betty Carter
and Lionel Hampton
to his long-standing tenure in Branford Marsalis
' Quartet, and in collaboration with JD Allen
and Orrin Evans
, he has excelled in and inventoried multiple jazz methodologies alongside the aforementioned rock, funk, and blues.
As a leader, Revis has released seven titles. His previous outings include two pure and adventurous trio sessions with pianist Kris Davis
, City Of Asylum
(Clean Feed, 2013), with Andrew Cyrille
and Crowded Solitudes
(Clean Feed, 2015) with Gerald Cleaver
. Davis joins him here, alongside reedist Ken Vandermark
from the 2012 quartet recording Parallax
(Clean Feed), and he pulls drummer Chad Taylor
from a subsequent quartet outing, in Memory Of Things Unseen
(Clean Feed, 2014).
As a bassist, his sound is bold, a punch-you-in-the-face-Charles Mingus
bold. He can buttress an open improvisation piece like the title track here, lashing together the disparate sounds of his dissonant crew. But, we're not talking chaos for mayhem's sake. The remaining eight tracks are credited compositions, with Revis adding four, and one each for his partners, plus Adam Rogers
"Rumples." Vandermark's "Good Company" supplies his familiar Chicago "big shoulders" sound which opens with Taylor's drum solo and dances notes on Davis' piano before saxophone and bass bring the hard groove. The gentle "Solstice....The Girls (For Max & Xixi)" features the velvety clarinet, sympathetic mallet work, (prepared?) piano, and Revis' taut bass producing the rhythms of the African continent. "Rye Eclipse" by Davis opens with an energy generator of a bass solo before uncovering the tap, tap, tap of sticks and the mechanized piano march. From the futurist landscape, Vandermark unleashes his inner-Peter Brötzmann
furor, and the ensuing entropy escalates until it finally evaporates. This controlled fury is at the heart of Revis' vision. Fueled by his command of pulse, the integrity of the music is maintained. His "Drunkard's Lullaby" is the musical equivalent of a drunken master Kung Fu movie where the wobbling teeter is a clever performance ruse with Revis' hand firmly holding down the pulse.