Steve Lehman Trio + Craig Taborn: The People I LoveBy
It's a tight band, captured live in Astoria, NY in 2019, and they revel in the complexities of Lehman's fiery Math-jazz derived post-bop. With his tart tone and poise at pace, Lehman evokes a legacy of Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman and Anthony Braxton (the last, one of his teachers), but with a feel all his own. Lehman's natural inclination to cram in the notes often creates a striking juxtaposition with piano or bass at slower tempos, resulting in an ambiguous emotional feel.
That's the case on "Ih Calam & Ynnus," which begins with Taborn displaying his legendary dexterity as he holds down a different time in each hand. When bass and drums kick in at a faster clip, but not in synch, a palpable tension arises from the four distinct patterns, which isn't allayed by Lehman's urgent darting line. They pull the opposite trick on Autechre's electronica "qPlay," where Lehman's long tones linked by short phrases butt up against funky hiphop inflected beats.
Lehman maintains interest by varying both the instrumentation and the mood. Of three improvised duets between the reedman and Taborn, two bookend the disc, "Prelude" reflective and "Postlude" mercurial, while on "Interlude," which acts as a cooling balm in the middle of the program, Lehman microtonally veers around Taborn's stately pitches. The next cut ups the ante again. On a cover of Kurt Rosenwinkel's "A Shifting Design," the sole track from a studio session eight months earlier, Reid's bristling boogaloo lays down the law for what becomes a classic free jazz trio confrontation, with the leader's nervous sinuousity cutting through the barrage when Brewer joins after the punchy theme.
They all combine on a warm rendition of Kenny Kirkland's "Chance," where a ballad feel predominates, emphasized by Taborn's rhapsodic solo. But some of the best moments arrive when both principals cut loose, notably in "Beyond All Limits," where bassist Brewer shines in an unaccompanied intro. Thereafter Lehman floats, rushes and swoops over a vague Latin-tinge, before Taborn spins out heroic tales with his right hand with occasional jabs from the left, before launching daredevil flights when Lehman returns for another bite of the cherry.
On The People I Love Lehman confirms himself as a relentless modernizer, even within traditional formats, and he could do worse than have Taborn lend two helping hands in future projects.
Prelude; Ih Calam & Ynnus; Curse Fraction; qPlay; Interlude; A Shifting Design; Beyond All Limits; Echoes/The Impaler; Chance; Postlude.
Steve Lehman: alto saxophone; Craig Taborn: piano; Matt Brewer: acoustic bass; Damion Reid: drum set.
Title: The People I Love | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Pi Recordings
Post a comment about this album
FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZAll About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELPTo expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.
About Steve Lehman
Instrument: Saxophone, altoArticle Coverage | Calendar | Albums | Photos | Similar Artists