For Your Consideration: Craig Taborn's 'Chants'
As much as I like Keith Jarrett and Colin Vallon, I always like to hear an ECM record that doesn't quite sound like ECM. It's a contemplative label - a quality exemplified by the five seconds of silence that start every disc - but it's refreshing when a group doesn't let itself fall too deeply into the ECM groove.
That's not to say we don't get our ballads on Chants, the new record from Craig Taborn, Gerald Cleaver and Thomas Morgan. "In Chant" is a beautiful one, as is "Silver Days Or Love," and they belong on ECM as much as anywhere else. But the record has a restless, forward-leaning sound that keeps the dull and sometimes slightly pretentious aesthetics of the label at bay.
I love to hear a working band. There is an unmistakable quality to the music of the working band, found in no other ensemble, no matter how accomplished it may be. There is a kind of ESP, a musical empathy, a sympathy in sound, that travels from one musician to all the others in the working band. You can hear it in Blakey's Jazz Messengers, in Wynton Marsalis' music, in Keith Jarrett's.
And you can hear it once again in Wayne Shorter's, if you get off the couch and buy his newest record - and return to Blue Note - Without A Net.
Kurt Rosenwinkel doesn't raise much of a ruckus. In fact, the last ruckus I remember him raising was a Facebook plea with musicians to stop raising ruckuses and get on with their music.
Rosenwinkel's forty-two years old. He's been making music for a few years now. He's weathered all the trends and all the fads well, mainly by not getting involved in any of them. Instead, he's been making excellent records that sound like Kurt Rosenwinkel records.
I have to admit something: I totally missed this album when it came out last September. It's ironic really; I devoured Dutch saxophonist and clarinetist Joris Roelofs' debut album, Introducing, back in 2008 (seriously, check it out), and have returned to it again and again, wondering each time when the follow-up would come.
Well, it's here. Fuck yeah.
If I had to choose only one word to describe tenor saxophonist, bandleader and composer J.D. Allen, that word would be focused. There is an intense focus to Allen’s four most recent recordings, recordings that – taken together – paint a wonderfully rounded portrait of one of the most inventive and interesting musicians on the scene today.