129

Steve Lehman Quintet: Structural Fire

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Lehman Quintet: Structural Fire The brashness of youth has usually yielded bountiful harvest in the fields of modern jazz. Consider the crackling work of a fresh-faced Lee Morgan in Dizzy Gillespie’s touring band of the early Fifties, or the brazen sounds of a cherub-cheeked Jackie McLean in Miles Davis’ outfit of the same time period. The list is virtually endless and continues to lengthen year after year. Add to this roster Steve Lehman, a protégé of Anthony Braxton who at the tender age of twenty-three has already sidled out from the sizeable shadow of his much-lauded mentor. Lehman’s work on Braxton’s Nine Compositions (Hill), released earlier this year, was instrumental to the project’s success and the folks at CIMP were quick to capitalize on the talent in their midst by organizing a follow-up date to debut him as a leader.

Fellow Braxton associates (and holdovers from the above mentioned Hill date) Kevin O’Neil and Kevin Norton join John Herbert and the estimable Roy Campbell, Jr. in rounding out Lehman’s inaugural recording ensemble. All compositions save “Action,” which is borrowed from the late Sixties McLean songbook, are Lehman’s own creations and together they represent the range of his stylistic interests. “Panther” playfully stalks a free-bop jungle of verdant harmonic vegetation as Lehman and then Campbell beat individual paths via highly energized solos. O’Neil’s fluidly picked arpeggios pepper Norton’s wave-like drum crests during the piece’s latter half prior to Lehman’s reentry skating through his horn’s upper register. “Orbits” revolves around undiluted improvisation as cleanly calibrated momentum is routinely subsumed under discursive collective commentary by the players en mass and in specific combinations. “Lasers” subtracts guitar, bass and brass from the band leaving the leader and Norton to converse in oblique tongues through the translating vehicles of blown reed, and sticks taken to tautly stretched drum skin. On “Le Roi,” presumably penned in homage to poet laureate Amiri Baraka, the band diverts to ballad guise spreading an inexorable swathe of tone colors that swirl around the piece’s melodic nucleus. Norton trades up sticks for felt-tipped mallets and Lehman hoists his flute further expanding on the textural flavor of the ensemble sound. Campbell’s muted phrases braid with the bowed figures of Herbert and O’Neil’s carefully placed counterpoint.

Producer Bob Rusch’s liners intimate that a companion disc to this debut, culled from the same session, is forthcoming in the CIMP release hopper. The harbinging evidence that Lehman’s substantial talents could not be contained to a single silver sound receptacle suggests that the saxophonist is just getting started on what is certain to be artistically prosperous career in creative music. Following in the footsteps of predecessors who made their mark early, exciting things are still to come from Lehman’s fertile mind and horns.


Track Listing: Panther (Dedicated to Thomas Fujiwara)/ Orbits/ Action/ Lasers/ Le Roi/ Structural Fire.

Personnel: Steve Lehman- alto & sopranino saxophones, flute; Roy Campbell, Jr.- trumpet, pocket trumpet, flugelhorn; Kevin O’Neil- electric guitar; John Herbert- acoustic bass; Kevin Norton- percussion, vibraphone. Recorded: May 14 & 15, 2001, Rossie, NY.

Title: Structural Fire | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: CIMP Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs CD/LP/Track Review Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by John Sharpe
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Resonance CD/LP/Track Review Resonance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Black Focus CD/LP/Track Review Black Focus
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Birdhoused CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Honest Woman" CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Time Being" CD/LP/Track Review Time Being
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Generations" CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Hawniyaz" CD/LP/Track Review Hawniyaz
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Purple Patio" CD/LP/Track Review Purple Patio
by John Sharpe
Published: October 1, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!