Apr 23, 2013
ECM is making an early run at “Label of the Year” for jazz releases. In the first four months of 2013, Manfred Eicher and company have given us outstanding new CDs like Chris Potter’s The Sirens; the Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet’s Wislawa; and Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran’s teaming on Hagar’s Song; plus two fabulous reissues as box sets from Lloyd and from Paul Motian.
Adding to this embarrassment of riches is the latest release from pianist Craig Taborn, a trio session entitled Chants. Taborn (who was one of two pianists on The Sirens) teams with Stanko’s rhythm section of Thomas Morgan and Gerald Cleaver for an album of innovative music. It’s a thoroughly modern take on that staple of the jazz scene, the piano trio. However, rather than concentrate on chamber structure or counterpoint, the group is more concerned with sound texture, color and mood.
The results are always interesting, and sometimes dazzling. Taborn, who is as comfortable with electric music as he is with acoustic, has found kindred spirits in Morgan and Cleaver, who play in and around Taborn, creating layers of sound with wonderful complexity. The trio is on the road now and well worth checking out when they come to your town.
I spoke with Craig and length about his process of writing and recording, and go his comments on being part of Chris Potter’s groups, and what lessons he learned from his time with James Carter during what he called the “last feeding frenzy” of jazz signings by major labels in the Nineties. Click here to listen to Podcast 345, featuring musical selections including:
Craig Taborn Trio - “Hot Blood” and “Silver Ghosts” from Chants. The trio of Taborn, Thomas Morgan (bass) and Gerald Cleaver (drums) creates shifting moods and textures on these Taborn originals.
Chris Potter – “Dawn (With Her Rosy Fingers)” from The Sirens. Click here to listen to Potter talk about the CD, and the ensemble of Potter (soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet); Taborn (piano); David Virelles (prepared piano, celeste, harmonium); Larry Granadier (double bass) and Eric Harland (drums).
James Carter – “Oleo” from Jurassic Classics, Almost 20 years ago, Taborn worked with James Carter (soprano, alto & tenor saxophones) on a series of major label releases. This Sonny Rollins-penned tune shows how the “Young Lions” made jazz standards their own. The quartet is Carter; Craig Taborn (piano); Jaribu Shahid (bass); and Tani Tabbal (drums).