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Lafayette Gilchrist: Undaunted


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Lafayette Gilchrist: Undaunted
Barn-burning, barrel-housing pianist Lafayette Gilchrist may or may not be known by everyone pretending to be hip and attuned or even by the rather rarefied company he has been known to keep—David Murray, Cassandra Wilson, Andrew Cyrille—but Undaunted is going to get him some much deserved attention.

Abundant with cajones and plenty of rhythm, Undaunted captures the imagination and attention immediately. The title track percolates within a laid back groove that Gilchrist, an admitted admirer of Duke Ellington's sharp, punchy solos, whips about and seduces. Bassist Herman Burney and drummer Eric Kennedy never let up on the elasticity, while saxophonist Brian Settles and trombonist Christian Hizon bring the brassy light and sway.

"Ride It Out" with its episodic dives into dancehall, free-form and bop, holds its quixotic melody with a resolve that allows all involved, including percussionist Kevin Pinder, to investigate, suggest, and, in the end, come to the same conclusion. Gilchrist is all over this one, his runs breaking the tension, making the tension. "Ride It Out" may, in the pianist words, be the "sonic portrait of a fever," but it sure serves as a cure-all made for what ails.

"In the Swirl" with its sustained, Cat-5 hurricane force, foments and bristles, breaks to catch its breath about midway through its seven plus hectic minutes, then picks up where it left off, taking everything with it in its wake. It is easily one of the most fearsome tracks heard so far in 2023, burning and boiling with Gilchrist's left hand, and Burney's incessant sawing leading the charge into the swaggering "Southern Belle." A sexy, sensual dance that hinges on the speculation of desire and its heated aftermath, Burney and Kennedy hold the pocket and enumerate as the horns provide the impetus for the lady to dance well on into the night as Gilchrist flirts and flatters her. Pinder's restlessly fevered percussion powers "Metropolitan Musings (Them Streets Again)" while Gilchrist and the horns punch their way into traffic. It is a powerhouse closer to a powerhouse album and a perfect reason to hit replay.

Track Listing

Undaunted; Ride It Out; In the Swirl; Southern Belle; Metropolitan Musings (Them Streets Again).


Album information

Title: Undaunted | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Morphius Records

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