314

Curtis Clark: Taagi

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Curtis Clark: Taagi Recorded live on successive nights in May, 2009 in Texas, Taagi provides a welcome bulletin on under-exposed pianist Curtis Clark. Though born in Chicago, Clark first made his mark in Los Angeles back in the 1970s under the influence of the late pianist/bandleader Horace Tapscott. Since then he has resided in Amsterdam, recording with many of the mainstays of the Dutch scene, until recently relocating to New England. An appearance with trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez on A Matter Of Blood (Furthermore, 2009) was most likely the link which saw the pianist hooked up with Gonzalez's sons Aaron and Stefan for this mini-tour.

Together, they essay seven originals and one perennial from the American Songbook during the course of a low-key, 66-minute program with a late night feel. Although inspiring covers by other performers (TRIO 3 (lake/workman/cyrille) spring to mind), the pianist's compositions act more as reference points to be toyed with but not fully embraced. Clark's brightly recorded piano blends introspective romanticism and muscular gospel into a rich harmonic tide with a powerful blues undertow, while Aaron Gonzalez' incisive full-toned bass moves in understated counterpoint alongside brother Stefan's crisply supportive drums. In fact, bass and drums don't so much lead or follow Clark as keep pace on a parallel track, rarely meshing beyond tempo, pulsing freely rather than keeping time, to set up a nervy unresolved tension.

It's only on "NYC Wildlife" that piano and bass navigate the bop-ish bounce in close unison, demonstrating the intent behind their avoidance of tight harmony on other pieces. Elsewhere, a passage of locomotive rolling piano on "Suite: Joy/Blessings" opens out into three-way interplay, before leading to a churchy conclusion. Both the title track and the standard "Beautiful Love" receive classic ballad treatment, with the merest passes at the melody amid open conversational dialogue; the former featuring particularly pleasing cymbal colorations and a fine bass solo. However, it is ultimately telling that the strongest moments—such as the introductions to the two suites and "Joy"—are those where Clark ruminates alone.


Track Listing: Suite: Joy/Blessings; Suite: Water Colors/New York City Wildlife; Taagi; Joy; Blessings; Beautiful Love.

Personnel: Curtis Clark: piano; Aaron Gonzalez: bass; Stefan Gonzalez: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "Heavy Feel" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Feel
by Doug Collette
Published: May 21, 2016
Read "Evolution - Seeds and Streams" CD/LP/Track Review Evolution - Seeds and Streams
by Phil Barnes
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "Dark Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Dark Blue
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 8, 2016
Read "New Jazz Standards, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review New Jazz Standards, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "The Space Between" CD/LP/Track Review The Space Between
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!