All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

372

Ingrid Laubrock with Liam Noble & Tom Rainey: Sleepthief

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Listen, this is true. With Sleepthief, Ingrid Laubrock—since mid decade amongst the most interesting saxophonists and bandleaders on the British scene—has made an album so exceptional that it positions the German-born, London-based player as perhaps the most daring and exciting saxophonist anywhere in the world in 2008. It really is that extraordinary—and momentous—a release.



Wholly improvised, with no preconceived tunes, no overdubs, no post-production and no edits, and with the tracks sequenced in pretty much the same order they were recorded, the process of music-making is audacious. It is also brilliantly realized. In British pianist Liam Noble and American drummer Tom Rainey, Laubrock has found the perfect partners—restlessly inventive, provocative, deep, infinitely nuanced, spontaneously architectural.



It gets even better. As gripping as the playing of the trio are the sounds Laubrock coaxes from her saxophones. Forensic examination of the sonic nooks and crannies of her instruments has since the mid-2000s been a trademark of Laubrock's live performances, but—as she hasn't released a disc since 2006, or one including tenor since 2004—Sleepthief is the first album to present this aspect of her playing in its maturity.



If you haven't heard Laubrock live during the last couple of years, you're in for a revelation. Here, on tenor and soprano, she is writing what amount to new dialects, if not full-blown languages, for her instruments. The visceral low-register phrases evoking bar-walking tenor players from an earlier age, and the precisely articulated high harmonics, are present as before, as are more conventionally played passages. But they're joined by a raft of new sounds and textures, some caressing, others disturbing, lyrical dream weavings and rude awakenings, which turn the saxophone inside out. To play like this requires wild imagination and extreme technical virtuosity, qualities Laubrock has in abundance.



A player who has come a very long way in a relatively short time, Laubrock's recording career began conventionally enough with Who Is It? (Candid, 1997), before moving into fresh minted territory two albums later with Forensic (F-ire, 2004). The album marked her emergence as a composer and bandleader of character, and with Barry Green and Sebastian Rochford replacing original pianist Karim Merchant and drummer Tom Skinner, the band was the most consistently thrilling live outfit on the British circuit in 2005/06—even if Rochford's Polar Bear, with whom Laubrock guested on Held On The Tips Of Fingers (Babel, 2005), picked up more column inches.



With her next disc, Let's Call This... (Babel, 2006), a series of duets with Noble, Laubrock looked both forwards and backwards, setting original tunes alongside pieces by Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington and Lee Konitz. It felt at the time like she was taking stock, before the next leap forward.



And what a remarkable leap Sleepthief proves to be. 2008 has been a great year for saxophones. In the spring, tenor player Michael Adkins conjured his own sonic magic on Rotator (Hat Hut, 2008). Come the autumn, and Laubrock—enabled by Noble and Rainey (whose individual contributions deserve more attention than space permits)—has taken a quantum step which overshadows everything that came before it. Prepare for your paradigms to be shifted.


Track Listing: Zugunruhe; Sleepthief; Oofy Twerp; Never Were Not; Environmental Stud; The Ears Have It; Batchelor's Know How; Social Cheats; Amelie.

Personnel: Ingrid Laubrock: tenor and soprano saxophone, piano (9); Liam Noble: piano; Tom Rainey: drums.

Title: Sleepthief | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Intakt Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
My Favourite Things
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Serpentines

Serpentines

Intakt Records
2016

buy
Ubatuba

Ubatuba

Firehouse 12 Records
2015

buy
Roulette of the Cradle

Roulette of the Cradle

Intakt Records
2015

buy
Zurich Concert

Zurich Concert

Intakt Records
2014

buy
AND OTHER DESERT TOWNS

AND OTHER DESERT TOWNS

Relative Pitch Records
2014

buy
Catatumbo

Catatumbo

Babel Label
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Fat Daddy CD/LP/Track Review
Fat Daddy
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Short Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Short Stories
by Gareth Thompson
Published: September 19, 2018
Read UHHM CD/LP/Track Review
UHHM
by John Bricker
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Decoy CD/LP/Track Review
Decoy
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" CD/LP/Track Review You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "There'll Be Some Changes Made" CD/LP/Track Review There'll Be Some Changes Made
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: May 17, 2018
Read "Life Stories" CD/LP/Track Review Life Stories
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 28, 2018
Read "Contrast" CD/LP/Track Review Contrast
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 1, 2018
Read "Prime Time" CD/LP/Track Review Prime Time
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 25, 2018
Read "Blood & Bone" CD/LP/Track Review Blood & Bone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 5, 2018