Thursday, February 09, 2017

Craig Taborn - Daylight Ghosts (ECM Records, 2017)

Craig Taborn plays exploratory jazz in a subtle and intricate fashion, whether in the solo piano format or this quartet recording where he adds subtle electronic shadings to his keyboard along with Chris Speed on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Chris Lightcap on bass and Dave King on drums. Each player draws from a diverse history, influenced by a wide array of music in addition to jazz improvisation. Dynamic change, and haunting ambiance and electro-acoustic sounds that hint at subtle grooves and thoughtful melodies are all are melded into the crucible of this album. The music rewards group improvisation over traditional solo and accompaniment, beginning with the opening track "The Shining One" which features taut bass and drums, slithering saxophone and spare shards of piano. The music is fast and nimble, tightly woven  and very impressive, making for a seamless sound world of transparency, where all the elements are considered patiently, so that the layers of the music unfold like a kaleidoscope, opening up a vast world that they can explore. The music is driven by Taborn’s energetic piano playing and King’s unpredictable  percussion. His imaginative drumming further influences "New Glory" and the rest of the band falls in nicely with an interesting improvised section. Driving piano meeting the strong bass and agile drumming makes for a strong foundation and speed weaves though the music at will. “Ancient” builds slowly and patiently, developing pulsations of bass and rhythm that are at the foundation of the music. The piano and saxophone are gradually folded in and the music becomes more fleshed out, adding enthusiasm and energy. Powerful piano pushes the music forward as it continually develops at an exciting rate, while Lightcap adds strong, solid bass lines. The concluding "Phantom Radio" is a mysterious track with Speed’s forlorn saxophone calling out long tones over Taborn’s unusual electronic palette. This album is a thoughtful and well paced set of acoustic jazz tempered by a veneer of electronics. The music is subtle and patient with a cryptic edge that keeps it from unfolding too quickly. Daylight Ghosts -

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