Thursday, December 03, 2009

Chad Taylor - Circle Down (482 Music, 2009)

Drummer and composer Chad Taylor has become a fixture on the Chicago music scene, playing the likes of Fred Anderson, Marc Ribot and Iron and Wine. This is a jazz trio album where he is joined by Chris Lightcap on bass and Angelica Sanchez on piano. “Box Step” has a gently informal melody, reminiscent of the folksy themes Keith Jarrett improvised on his Impulse recordings. After a thick sounding bass solo the full band picks up the pace to sprightly, fast but not torrid. “Specifica” has a deeply rhythmic trio start, propelled by strong bass and drums. Percussive fast piano runs by Sanchez, recalling the work of McCoy Tyner and Don Pullen, is thrilling and outstanding. “Rock” is slower and somewhat spacey, melodic and emotional in its slower tempo. Things pick to mid-temp with lush flowing melodic structure, getting fast and free sounding before slowing back down and then closing out. “Traipse” is a probing trio performance, with nice mid-temp improvisation and featuring cool drumming and bright sounding piano. ”No Brainer” opens with a probing bass solo, and excellent percussion that moves things along nicely. Rippling piano leads spontaneous full band improvisation near the end. ”Opal” and “Miriam” are spare and open ended ballads, segueing into admirably spontaneous mid-tempo improvisations. The trio probes the depths of their music on “Level”, with heavy piano playing driving like sonar waves against the svelte and nimble drums. “Pablo” has a fast and fun groove, and as if it was made with progressive dance in mind. There’s an excellent drum feature, and Taylor plays in a really classy manner, not show-offy at all. Drums and bass then entrench as piano provides air support overhead before giving way to a deep and dexterous bass solo. ”Pascal” wraps thing up with some more fine bass work in an open context, followed by the trio coming together for a percussive groove to wrap things up. This was one of the most interesting piano, bass and drums trios I have heard in a while. While Taylor is nominally the leader, the three voices have equal status and work well together to make consistently original and interesting music.
Circle Down - amazon.com

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