Daily Archives: June 23, 2010

Village Voice reviews by Tom Hull

Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth – Deluxe (CF 174)
I used to be able to ID these cars: cover looks like a mid-1950s Oldsmobile (1956?), the sketch inside more like a 1959 Caddy, the ne plus ultra of tailfins. Lightcap’s a bassist, b. 1971, gets around, third album under his own name after two Fresh Sound New Talents. Runs a big horn line here, with tenor saxophonists Chris Cheek and Tony Malaby on all cuts, and alto saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo joining in on three of eight. Craig Taborn plays Wurlitzer, and Gerald Cleaver is the drums. Sounds like a freewheeling lineup, but they mostly hum along in sync. I used to have a monster Olds: a 1965, with a 425 cu. in. V-8, 4 bbl. carb, put out about 360 hp, ran real smooth keeping all that power bottled up under its big hood, kind of like this record. B+(*)

John Hébert Trio – Spiritual Lover (CF 175)
Bassist, from Louisiana, based in Jersey City, shows up on a lot of good records, now has two under his own name. Trio includes Gerald Cleaver on drums and Benoit Delbecq on piano, clarinet, and synth — mostly piano, but the switches muddy that somewhat. If you care to, you can focus on the bass and be rewarded for your efforts. Otherwise, Delbecq is a fine pianist — I recommend his 2005 album, Phonetics, but you get a taste of that here. B+(**)

Lawnmower – West (CF 178)
The label really seems to like group names, something I try to minimize in my filing: most seem like fronts for some principal, and even when group distribution is genuine so many group names become difficult to follow. I originally tried filing this under drummer Luther Gray: he produced and wrote the (very brief) liner notes. Don’t see any song credits. Of course, the person you hear is alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, who is always out front. Quartet is filled out with two guitarists, Geoff Farina and Dan Littleton, who don’t make much of a mark. Some bits of Americana worked into the mix, giving it a bit of folk-gospel roots, but recast as free jazz, of course. B+(**)

Keefe Jackson Quartet – Seeing You See (CF 176)
Tenor saxophonist, also plays bass clarinet, from Fayetteville, Arkansas, moved to Chicago in 2001, third album since 2006. Quartet includes ex-Vandermark 5 trombonist Jeb Bishop, who also plays alongside Jackson in Lucky 7s, plus Jason Roebke on bass and Noritaka Tanaka on drums. Snakey free jazz, probably more interesting for Bishop’s runs and smears, although Jackson can pull off some interesting lines. B+(**)

Carlos Bica + Matéria-Prima (CF 180)
Bassist, from Portugal, based in Germany, has a half-dozen or more records since 1996, four with his trio Azul (Frank Möbius on guitar, Jim Black on drums). Not sure if Prima-Matéria is a distinct group — doesn’t show up on Bica’s website project list nor on trumpeter Matthias Schriefl’s MySpace page (Schreefpunk, European TV Brass Trio, Brazilian Motions, deujazz, 2 Generations of Trumpets, United Groove-O-Rama, Schmittmenge Meier, Mutantenstadt). Group also includes Mário Delgado on electric guitar, João Lobo on drums and percussion, and João Paulo on piano, keyboards, and accordion. Assembled from three concerts — the one patch of applause comes at a bit of surprise, even if well earned. Rather patchy, the main shift turning on Paulo’s accordion, which puts the band in a mood for tango or something folkloric; otherwise they have a tendency toward soundtrack, with three placenames in the titles. Still, Schriefl is a smoldering trumpet player, and this never settles into the ordinary. B+(***)

All About Jazz review by Mark Corroto

Eric Boeren 4tet – Song For Tracy The Turtle (CF 186)
Mark and his large dog Louie endeavor daily to find and listen to new and interesting sounds.

When Eric Boeren’s 4tet isn’t playing the music of Ornette Coleman, they are playing the music of Ornette Coleman. That is to say, with a Dutch swing.

The leader and cornetist began playing covers in the early 1990s, releasing several quartet recordings of Coleman’s music with Cross Breeding (BVHaast, 1997), Joy Of A Toy (BVHaast, 2001), and Soft Nose (BVHaast, 2001).

And while this album Song For Tracey The Turtle only refers to two Coleman tracks directly, the influence is quite palpable. Without direct allusion to the original Coleman quartet or the later Old And New Dreams band of Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Ed Blackwell, and Charlie Haden, Boeren along with saxophonist Michael Moore, bassist Wilbert de Joode and drummer Paul Lovens present music that Ornette Coleman circa 1960 would easily recognize and the 2010 Ornette might love.

This disc was taken from a 2004 concert broadcast by Belgian radio and not heard by Boeren until 2008. His quartet is in fine form, frolickingly playing with extended technique to broaden the seemingly simple music Boeren wrote with Coleman in mind.

The music is arranged to allow each player plenty of space. Michael Moore and Wilbert de Joode are featured on “Charmes,” speaking hushed lines to each other. It’s almost as if they’re aside, especially when Boeren takes off with some licks and Lovens whips up the energy. The 4tet seems to have a sense of how to shred a composition, only to reassemble it without a mark. Even their “Free” piece maintains the quartet’s logic. The gentle “Memo” at barely over a minute segues into Eubie Blake’s “Memories Of You,” played straight by Moore’s clarinet and Boeren’s muted cornet with all the sentiment and attitude the song deserves.

The disc ends with the 10-minute “Squirrel Feet/The Legend Of Bebop,” a part Coleman/part Boeren creation which pulls music from Coleman’s The Art of the Improvisers (Atlantic, 1961) recording, but builds upon a 21st century band concept with 20 years of experience. The quartet is unflappable, assembling the melody before breaking it into several pieces to be reconfigured into a blues swing. Smile, Ornette, smile.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=36768