Corey King and Jamire Williams make a great pair. The dopeness of Williams' 2012 release, Conflict of a Man (the album's "Black Super Hero Theme Song" has been the theme song to "The Line-Up" for years), through his backwards namesake band, ERIMAJ, is accomplished not only because of Williams' constantly keyed in rumbling on the drums but also because of King's soulful arrangements. What these two make together, especially with guitarist Matthew Stevens, is always a marvel, and it's even moreso on King's adventurous new album, Lashes, out now on Ropeadope.
If there's something to Ben Wendel's signature sound on the tenor saxophone, it has to be one of a circuitous nature. His style of play always seems to loop back in on itself. There's an extra bit of energy in his runs that never seems to worry about taking a few more steps on the scenic route to get to where his ideas ultimately need to go. He'll make loops to move a mere full step to pull together a thread. One would call him busy but only if it weren't so damned perfect. With a career pushing twenty years now, particularly with Kneebody, Ben Wendel's sound has become a rather recognizable signature, so hearing him play with a spectacular quartet including pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Joe Sanders, and percussionist Henry Cole on Wendel's new album, What We Bring is an all-too welcome visit from a rather busy (meant in his constant work, not his style of play this time) artist.
As a composer, Stephan Crump knows how to build. His Rosetta Trio has managed to construct a moving sound as calm as a flowing river that's still powerful enough to erode the rocks in the river's bed. The smoothness of his bass anchors as much as it flies off. When dealing with Liberty Ellman and Jaime Fox's guitars, the fullness and richness is there. When playing, in all sense of the word, with Vijay Iyer's piano and Marcus Gilmore's drums, he bounces along with endless possibilities. However on his latest release, Crump sits in the middle of a quartet that doesn't have a chordal instrument. He alongside trumpeter Adam O'Farrill, tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey are making the full sound all their own, carefully placing the jigsaw pieces of notes together into something richer than one could fathom, which says a lot for Stephan Crump.
Chris messaged me Friday asking if I wanted to fill in for his show on Saturday. Considering I hadn't recorded my show on Friday or made plans yet for Saturday (I ended up working, but it's good I knew to make this show before learning that), I said yes and made two more hours of radio for you.
Nu Standards for 23 July 2016
Aaron Parks is an altogether beautiful person, as if his aura just colors whatever he touches, particularly pianos. Billy Hart is a legend and a giant and gets to do whatever the hell he wants on the drums. Ben Street is an anchor and a pure soul able to keep the three aligned on the bass. The trio were absolutely outstanding playing one of the last sets of the festival on Saturday, July 9 at Le Gesù presenting new material Parks is set to release some time next year on ECM.