285

Tarbaby: The End Of Fear

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
A band name that some might see as confrontational—although the band denies this—an album title that could be wildly optimistic, a statement of faith or simply ironic; some of the fieriest jazz players on the scene and a scary Hieronymus Bosch-style cover design. What kind of music might emanate from such a combination? Free form, loud, frenetic, aggressive? Yes, but this magnificent, multilayered album offers much more.

While the packaging—name, title, image—might suggest a set of hard-hitting, confrontational music the reality is very different: The End Of Fear is a wonderfully eclectic collection of tunes. Certainly, there are aggressive and ferocious numbers—"Heads," "Tails" and a warp-speed version of Bad Brains' "Sailin' On"—but there is also great beauty: a straight-ahead take on Fats Waller's lovely "Lonesome Me" and a restrained and dream-like trio performance of Paul Motian's "Abacus."

On this album, Tarbaby is pianist Orrin Evans, drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Eric Revis. Saxophonist Stacy Dillard, a key presence on the eponymous first album (Imani Records, 2009), is absent. Instead, three special guests take charge of the horn parts.

Trumpeter Nicholas Payton is superb, whether adding a raucous, upper register part to the brief and free-blowing "Heads" or a rhythmic, funky line to Sam Rivers' tremendous "Unity." Altoist Oliver Lake leads on his own composition, "November 80," his tight, tense, sound perfectly complemented by Evans' piano. JD Allen—who also played on Tarbaby—appears on only two tunes, but his tenor part on "Lonesome Me" is a master class in straightforward, emotionally engaging musicianship.

The core Tarbaby trio must be one of the strongest and most innovative of such congregations in contemporary jazz: top quality musicians and talented composers. Revis' "Brews," a fractured blues, features some powerful, emphatic playing from all three musicians. By contrast, "Abacus" finds Evans and Revis playing delicately, with Waits dipping in and out of the spaces left by his band mates. Waits' "Hesitation" is the album's darkest tune—Payton's breathy, hesitant, trumpet controls the mood perfectly.

Evans' own writing credit is for "Jena 6," where his piano playing takes center-stage for what might be described as a "ballad with an edge." It's an excellent example of another of the trio's strengths—its ability to shift the mood or atmosphere of a tune simply by a change of emphasis among the players.

So, however enigmatic the trio's choice of name or album title may be, the music on The End Of Fear rings out loud and clear. Tarbaby is one of the most powerful, dynamic and exciting jazz bands around.

Track Listing: E-Math; Brews; Heads; Unity; Jena 6; Sailin' On; Lonesome Me; November '80; Hesitation; Tails; Tough Love; Abacus.

Personnel: Orrin Evans: piano; Eric Revis: bass; Nasheet Waits: drums; JD Allen: tenor saxophone (7, 11); Oliver Lake: alto saxophone (1, 4, 8, 10, 11); Nicholas Payton: trumpet (1, 3, 4, 9, 11).

Title: The End Of Fear | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Shades Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Shades Of Life
by James Nadal
Published: July 18, 2017
Read "In the Still of the Night" CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Tribute to Bobby" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Bobby
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "E.S.T. Symphony" CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Live At the Stone" CD/LP/Track Review Live At the Stone
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Last Dream of the Morning" CD/LP/Track Review Last Dream of the Morning
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 28, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.