Craig Taborn | Rob Brown | Nasheet Waits | Rob Brown Trio | Unknown Skies | RogueArt Jazz

rogueart jazz

Rob Brown: alto saxophone | Craig Taborn: piano | Nasheet Waits: drums

Recorded live on January 30th 2010 by Jacques Laville at Saint-Mandé, France. Mixing and mastering: Jon Rosenberg. Liner Notes: Alexandre Pierrepont. Photographs: RogueArt. Cover Design: Max Schoendorff. Cover Realisation: David Bourguignon, URDLA. Producer: Michel Dorbon

Tracklist: 1. A Fine Line (15:55) 2. Unknown Skies (16:31) 3. Bounce Back (13:25) 4. The Upshot (11:21) 5. Temerity (4:45)

All compositions by Rob Brown, except Temerity, by R. Brown, C. Taborn & N. Waits

Craig Taborn |  Rob Brown | Nasheet Waits | Rob Brown Trio | Unknown Skies | rogueart jazz

Rob Brown | Photo by Ed Berger

…Every trio without a piano

or without a drums, or as in this case without a double bass, gains in incline what it loses in “balance”. It only takes a little sometimes. Everyone plays at ease across. Everyone can split themselves. There are no more solos as solos but phases, circles of influence and predominance which do not last. The duos bind and unbind more clearly, the contrasts stand out better. The theme is no longer material to develop but, as in Unknown Skies, a lyrical and volatile substance which evaporates between the communicating vessels of two duos within the trio, from the sweet wanderings of Brown and Taborn to the moats where Taborn and Waits dance. Here and there. In the middle of Bounce Back, the theme is a branching, and only a branching, connecting the spiral discussion between the saxophonist and the drummer and the take off of the pianist. Here and there. On The Upshot, the theme does not unfold, it coils and rewinds more and more rapidly, up to the clearing. Bobbin-clearing. When it is still exposed in due form, and comes back at the end, as on A Final Line, the theme seems almost unable to bear the pressure of what will follow, of what has gone before. — Alexandre Pierrepont, excerpt from the liner notes

Craig Taborn |  Rob Brown | Nasheet Waits | Rob Brown Trio | Unknown Skies | rogueart jazz

Craig Taborn

‘Unknown Skies’ posseses an intriguing quality:

it seems to be precisely imprecise, the strength of its cohesion built upon the tensions of it coming apart. Song heads could almost be improvisations, they seem so naturally unfolding, yet unison accompaniment belies their composition. Rhythms unfold loosely yet totally in control, and it makes for quite a masterful mix.

Rob Brown’s alto sax is in command here, it both soars and digs deep, beckoning you to follow but also suggesting that you may want to stand back from time to time. Craig Taborn’s acoustic piano veers expertly both inside and outside the lines, supporting Brown, but also cutting free like on his angular and intense solo on the opening tune ‘A Fine Line’. In fact, this track on the whole is an exciting statement that serves as a harbinger for the rest of the concert recording.

Throughout, Nasheet Wait’s drumming is fantastic. Whether it is his kinetic intro to the album or providing urgent counterbalance to Brown’s unbound solo on ‘Bounce Back’, the drumming is energetic and loose but detailed in the right places.

Though I had read of Brown before, I had not heard any recordings. Thus, while I cannot say how this recording relates to his discography, it seems like a fine introduction to my ears. His tone is evocative, full of bite, passion and melody. The tunes, while grounded (though bass-less) are not afraid to break free of their moorings and take the listener with them (but, you’ll be pleased to know they return you safely – albeit a little roughed up – too). And througout the recording, the energy level is high. In my humble opinion, this is some good stuff. — ‘Unknown Skies’ posseses an intriguing quality: it seems to be precisely imprecise, the strength of its cohesion built upon the tensions of it coming apart. Song heads could almost be improvisations, they seem so naturally unfolding, yet unison accompaniment belies their composition. Rhythms unfold loosely yet totally in control, and it makes for quite a masterful mix.

Rob Brown’s alto sax is in command here, it both soars and digs deep, beckoning you to follow but also suggesting that you may want to stand back from time to time. Craig Taborn’s acoustic piano veers expertly both inside and outside the lines, supporting Brown, but also cutting free like on his angular and intense solo on the opening tune ‘A Fine Line’. In fact, this track on the whole is an exciting statement that serves as a harbinger for the rest of the concert recording.

Throughout, Nasheet Wait’s drumming is fantastic. Whether it is his kinetic intro to the album or providing urgent counterbalance to Brown’s unbound solo on ‘Bounce Back’, the drumming is energetic and loose but detailed in the right places.

Though I had read of Brown before, I had not heard any recordings. Thus, while I cannot say how this recording relates to his discography, it seems like a fine introduction to my ears. His tone is evocative, full of bite, passion and melody. The tunes, while grounded (though bass-less) are not afraid to break free of their moorings and take the listener with them (but, you’ll be pleased to know they return you safely – albeit a little roughed up – too). And througout the recording, the energy level is high. In my humble opinion, this is some good stuff. — ‘Unknown Skies’ posseses an intriguing quality: it seems to be precisely imprecise, the strength of its cohesion built upon the tensions of it coming apart. Song heads could almost be improvisations, they seem so naturally unfolding, yet unison accompaniment belies their composition. Rhythms unfold loosely yet totally in control, and it makes for quite a masterful mix.

Rob Brown’s alto sax is in command here, it both soars and digs deep, beckoning you to follow but also suggesting that you may want to stand back from time to time. Craig Taborn’s acoustic piano veers expertly both inside and outside the lines, supporting Brown, but also cutting free li

ke on his angular and intense solo on the opening tune ‘A Fine Line’. In fact, this track on the whole is an exciting statement that serves as a harbinger for the rest of the concert recording.

Throughout, Nasheet Wait’s drumming is fantastic. Whether it is his kinetic intro to the album or providing urgent counterbalance to Brown’s unbound solo on ‘Bounce Back’, the drumming is energetic and loose but detailed in the right places.

Though I had read of Brown before, I had not heard any recordings. Thus, while I cannot say how this recording relates to his discography, it seems like a fine introduction to my ears. His tone is evocative, full of bite, passion and melody. The tunes, while grounded (though bass-less) are not afraid to break free of their moorings and take the listener with them (but, you’ll be pleased to know they return you safely – albeit a little roughed up – too). And througout the recording, the energy level is high. In my humble opinion, this is some good stuff. — Paul Acquaro

Craig Taborn |  Rob Brown | Nasheet Waits | Rob Brown Trio | Unknown Skies | rogueart jazz

Nasheet Waits

 

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One thought on “Craig Taborn | Rob Brown | Nasheet Waits | Rob Brown Trio | Unknown Skies | RogueArt Jazz

  1. Each year alto saxophonist Rob Brown brings a project to NYC’s annual Vision Festival. Among the most raw and compelling was this stellar trio, featuring pianist Craig Taborn and drummer Nasheet Waits, which graced the 2009 gathering but had gone unrecorded, until now. Fortunately the voguish Paris-based Rogue Art imprint has issued a fine live recording from the 2010 Sons d’hiver festival in that city, which regularly presents highlights from the New York jamboree.

    His chosen format echoes Cecil Taylor’s classic unit from the 1960s and early ’70s, and Alexander von Schlippenbach’s subsequent long-lasting threesome with saxophonist Evan Parker, in forgoing a bassist—a decision vindicated by the rhythmic drive of his colleagues.

    Brown has picked his partners well. Taborn, for who 2011 already represents a red letter period, with an acclaimed one-man album, Avenging Angel (ECM) and collective outing with Farmers By Nature, Out Of This World’s Distortions (Aum Fidelity), again demonstrating why so many people want him on their dates: his two handed independence gives the illusion of multiple participants, each blessed with syncopated wit, whether shading with a bluesy tinge or belaying darting dissonance atop a bass register thunder. On drums, Waits—who has staked his place in avant improvising ensembles through his duets with Peter Brotzmann and role in Tony Malaby’s Tamarindo—adds authoritative percussive wisdom which both anchors and propels, maintaining a lurching forward motion, born of a righteous combination of drum rolls and pulsing clatter.

    Brown revels in the license to roam, engendered by Taborn and Waits’ intersecting lines. One of that select band of instrumentalists, whose soloing isn’t dependent on repeated motifs as much as a constantly unfurling narrative, the reedman thrills with his sustained brilliance. It’s an impression complemented by his tart brittle tonality which hovers perpetually on the edge of fragmenting into split-tone shards, creating a stream of distorted, impassioned beauty.

    Brown’s compositions allow ample opportunity for expression. Waits introduces “A Fine Line” with rumbling polyrhythms, before a typically knotty elongated unison. Increasingly dense interaction pushes the leader to the extremes, in contrast to the initially more restrained ballad of the title track. It starts on tiptoe but finishes as a march, by way of a monster Taborn exposition which draws inspiration from Brown’s composed line. “Bounce Back” boasts an unusual structure, beginning with an alto/drums duet which features increasingly frenetic oratory, which leads to a staccato theme, followed by a another piano tour de force, gaining momentum like an express train until a welter of notes are flying from the keyboard. Most likely the encore, the spontaneously scripted “Temerity” denotes a mercurial three-part invention which evolves into a devil-take-the-hindmost dash for the finishing tape. But by close of play everyone is a winner on this splendid disc, which ranks among Brown’s finest.

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