Steve Lehman Trio + Craig Taborn: The People I Love

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Lehman Trio + Craig Taborn: The People I Love
It is easy think about the shock of the new that was bebop when listening to The People I Love by alto saxophonist Steve Lehman's trio. Not that Lehman plays bebop as it was in the 1940s. It took mammals millions of years of evolution to climb down out of trees and fashion tools, but it has taken but a few decades to progress from Lester Young to Charlie Parker, to Eric Dolphy to Rudresh Mahanthappa. Think Darwin's foot on the jazz accelerator.

Lehman's brand of music is a transmogrification (more evolution here) of the theories of Anthony Braxton and the passion of Jackie McLean, both of whom were Lehman's mentors. This release pairs Lehman's trio of bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Damion Reid (heard on Dialect Fluorescent (Pi Recordings, 2012) with the pianist Craig Taborn. Adding the piano allows Lehman to rework several of his compositions written for various quartets, quintets and his octet, plus an exploration of music from Kenny Kirkland, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Kurt Rosenwinkel and the the electronic duo Autechre. In the past Lehman has merged electronica and hip-hop with his foundations in avant-garde and modern creative jazz. The mergers never sound like watered down fusion. With Autechre's "qPlay," Lehman takes the composition's jagged motif as provocation to draw references to the shapeshifting effects of avant-garde jazz.

Taborn is a sympathetic collaborator here, comfortable with thinking outside the jazz-tradition box. The pianist's left hand adds a percussive pulse on "Ih Calam & Ynnus," which acts as ballast, while his right is the provocation for Lehman's alto exploration and Reid's drums. The recording balances equal parts of rip, tear and crunch with stark beauty, which can be heard on Kirkland's "Chance" and Lehman's reworking of "Curse Fraction" from his quintet recording On Meaning (Pi Recordings, 2007). Lehman and Taborn give us three short improvised duos/ Let's hope they are an appetizer for an upcoming all-duo date.

Track Listing

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.

Album information

Title: The People I Love | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Pi Recordings

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Read How To turn the Moon
How To turn the Moon
Angelica Sanchez & Marilyn Crispell
Read The Path
The Path
Chien Chien Lu
Read Golden Daffodil
Golden Daffodil
Leslie Beukelman
Read Message from Groove and GW
Message from Groove and GW
The Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band
Read Duos & Trios
Duos & Trios
Armaroli - Schiaffini - Sjostrom
Read Hard Bop
Hard Bop
Eric Binder
Read How Can We Wake?
How Can We Wake?
Josephine Davies
Read Blue Has A Range
Blue Has A Range
Steve Cardenas

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.