The secret of any great piano-bass-drums trio is creating a massive sound from the three elements. These three instruments hold great potential, for soft elegies or bonkers jaunts. Get the right three players together on a piano, bass, and drum set and magic can happen, and more often than most, Ivo Neame, Jasper Høiby, and Anton Eger make magic and have been doing so for years. Yet, in all their bold compositions over the years, some have found room for more. Thus, Julian Argüelles arranged various Phronesis songs for accompaniment by the Frankfurt Radio Big Band. What resulted was The Behemoth, out now on Edition Records.
Gnosis sounds like the future. Of course, this will sound like an odd statement when time passes and fashions change -- when synthesizers phase back out of style, only to cycle back in again as styles tend to do -- but while it's hard to describe a period in a period, it's plain to see that Gnosis, the latest album from trumpeter/multi-instrumentalist Taylor Haskins, is not of this time.
I've had "Lucid Lullaby" stuck in my head for weeks. It took an equal amount of time for the humor of the literal nature of the song title to wash over me, but that phrase singing forth from Linda May Han Oh's bass, haunting me perpetually, is the perfect little melody. Oh as a composer has always been adept at writing perfect little melodies throughout her body of work. This is no more clear than in her latest release, Walk Against Wind, out Friday on Biophilia Records.
What is the actual difference between adventurous, guitar-based contemporary jazz music and instrumental post-rock? Depending on the day, I can get down just as much to Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai as much as I would to Rafiq Bhatia or, in this particular case, Matthew Stevens. For the creators, there's likely little difference, or moreso it matters less to these folks, but if you just had to put your finger on justs what exactly is going on here in the music, there's the finest lines being leapt over like a game of hopscotch in these particular sounds and a true philosophical question could be asked of these creations, particularly in regard to branding and association. With this in mind, Matthew Stevens' sophomore album, Preverbal, has a lot to unpack.
Since time perpetually moves forward, all movement is technically forward movement. Everything is a form of progression. Experience gives texture to signature, though the elements of signature -- those attributes that define the outward expression of persona -- remain fundamentally intact because the everlasting battle of nature versus nurture will always end up in some sort of tie. When hearing Ruler Rebel, the first of three albums trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah will release this year as part of his Centennial Trilogy, in the context of his body of work, it's apparent that this is the perfect example of the progression of his signature sound.