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...

22

Ches Smith with Craig Taborn and Mat Maneri: The Bell

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Despite appearing on at least fifty recordings since 2001, Ches Smith remains the more under-recognized, yet highly in-demand, member of this newly formed trio. The drummer/percussionist and vibraphonist for Tim Berne's Snakeoil, Smith has played with John Zorn on Voices in the Wilderness (Tzadik, 2003), as well as Wadada Leo Smith, and guitarists Fred Frith and Marc Ribot. The Bell is his fifth outing as a leader, three being solo efforts and one with his recent group, These Arches, which included Mary Halvorson, Tony Malaby and accordionist/organist Andrea Parkins. Here, Smith teams with pianist Craig Taborn and Mat Maneri on viola. Taborn and Maneri had previously worked together more than ten years ago on Taborn's Junk Magic (Thirsty Ear, 2004).

The title track is a meditative piece for eight of its nine and one-half minutes. At that point Smith introduces some tension as the drums begin to thunder against Maneri's haunting drone and repetitive phrasing from Taborn. "Barely Intervallic" and "Isn't It Over?" are more avant-garde and experimental in nature giving improvisational masters like Taborn and Maneri plenty of freedom to create innovations that sound both spare and lavish within Smith's minimal structures. It isn't until the second half of "I'll See You On The Dark Side Of The Earth" that Smith injects more heated intensity with a rock beat over a discordant swirl of sounds from Taborn and Maneri.

The second half of the program remains in the chamber music approach with Maneri adding flashes of his uniquely exotic playing especially evident on "I Think." Taborn's playing ranges from snippets of melodicism to rapid-fire cascades of notes and Smith's drumming sounds impressively musical. The leader uses the vibraphone sparingly but its presence—especially in the midst of freer group improvisations—adds a delicate balance to the sometimes more hectic proceedings.

For Smith, The Bell was not meant to be the stepping off point for a new group but rather a one-time impromptu session. However, after he, Maneri and Taborn played live in New York, Smith realized he an opportunity to create something more lasting with this exceptional group. His written compositions are intentionally kept minimal so as to let the improvisations take center stage. The trio responds to this approach with an appealingly patient mix of empty spaces, complex phrasing and textures that play in the moment and with an organic feeling. Smith/Taborn/Maneri will perform on the opening night of the New York City ECM Jazzfest on January 15, 2016.

Track Listing: The Bell; Barely Intervallic; Isn't It Over?; I'll See You On The Dark Side Of The Earth; I Think; Wacken; Open Air; It's Always Winter Somewhere; For Days.

Personnel: Ches Smith: drums, vibraphone, timpani; Craig Taborn: piano; Mat Maneri: viola.

Title: The Bell | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Bell

The Bell

ECM Records
2016

buy
Hammered

Hammered

Clean Feed Records
2013

buy
 

Finally Out of My...

NuBOP RADIO-iTunes(internet radio)
2011

buy
Finally Out Of My Hands

Finally Out Of My...

Skirl Records
2010

buy
Unrock Series 21.01.2010

Unrock Series...

Unsound Recordings
2010

buy
Congs for Brums

Congs for Brums

Free Porcupine Society
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read Fearless And Kind CD/LP/Track Review
Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Any Day Now CD/LP/Track Review
Any Day Now
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Adrift CD/LP/Track Review
Adrift
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Folkjazz from Finland CD/LP/Track Review
Folkjazz from Finland
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "The Jazz Chamber" CD/LP/Track Review The Jazz Chamber
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 2, 2018
Read "Presence" CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 26, 2018
Read "Chorando Sete Cores" CD/LP/Track Review Chorando Sete Cores
by Geannine Reid
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "Starting Today" CD/LP/Track Review Starting Today
by Chris May
Published: April 5, 2018
Read "Tall Tales And Alibis" CD/LP/Track Review Tall Tales And Alibis
by Doug Collette
Published: March 11, 2018
Read "I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert" CD/LP/Track Review I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 20, 2018