183

Lafayette Gilchrist: Three

Franz A. Matzner By

Sign in to view read count
Grounded in Baltimore's blue collar defiance and port city ruggedness, pianist Lafayette Gilchrist's style is fully his own, deliberately iconoclastic and aggressively blunt. And his third outing—aptly titled Three—remains firm in its dedication to this rough hewn tone, even as it translates the big, horn driven sound of his first two recordings to the trio format.

Self-taught on the piano and an accomplished jazz autodidact, Gilchrest steadfastly refuses to overtly reveal his extensive knowledge of jazz history and recordings, instead sticking to original compositions. Perhaps it would have been easier to use the trio setting as an excuse to run through a series of polite standards, but Gilchrist seems congenitally opposed to taking the easy path.

Like his debut, The Music According to Lafayette Gilchrist (Hyena, 2004), and the more complex follow-up, Towards the Shining Path (Hyena, 2005), Three cruises forward on a series of deep grooves, each track taking time to build its individual mood and unique sense of movement. Absent the complex horn charts, which infused both previous albums with terrific energy and allowed Gilchrist ample space to build his bold soundscapes, Three relies solely on Gilchrist's piano work to provide the necessary texture, dynamics, and harmonic and melodic development.

Tracks like the opening "Visitors, the crackling "In Depth, and the dirty grooved "Volcano prove Gilchrist more than up to the challenge, while others, like the strained "The Last Train and a slightly too long "Spheres of Existence suffer under their own weight. However, careful listeners will recognize that Gilchrist is committed to testing his own capacity, and an album wouldn't represent much of a stretch if there weren't a few missed steps.

In an era of musical navel gazing, Gilchrist's heavy, groove-dominated playing is refreshing for its outwardness. Extraordinarily distinct, it is far more the expression of an artist looking out at the world, translating its textures, its rhythms, the subtle inflections and tones, than the exploration of the artist's inner world. The result is a series of tough, captivating compositions that penetrate into the blood and bones.

Track Listing: Visitors; In Depth; Spheres of Existence; Last Train; Volcano Red; The Enquizator's Request; Inside Outside.

Personnel: Lafayette Gilchrist: piano; Anthony "Blue" Jenkins: bass; Nate Reynolds: drums.

Title: Three | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Hyena Records

About Lafayette Gilchrist
Articles | Calendar | Discography | Photos | More...

Tags

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related

Read Hiding Out
Hiding Out
By Jack Bowers
Read Irrationalities
Irrationalities
By Mark Corroto
Read Cobb's Pocket
Cobb's Pocket
By Nicholas F. Mondello
Read Cobb's Pocket
Cobb's Pocket
By Dan Bilawsky
Read Blues For Charlie
Blues For Charlie
By Jim Worsley
Read Cause and Effect
Cause and Effect
By Ian Patterson
Read Geschmacksarbeit
Geschmacksarbeit
By John Eyles