Taylor, recorded live at the venerable Village Vanguard. Not only was it Ribot s debut as a leader at the iconic venue, the occasion also marked the first appearance by Grimes at the Vanguard since 1966, right before his mysterious 35-year disappearance from the scene. In a wide-ranging set, the trio plays the music of Albert Ayler, covers tracks from the John Coltrane album Sun Ship, and even plays two ballad standards! Ribot, whose unmistakable sound is sought after by musicians of all stripes from Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, John Zorn, T Bone Burnett, Susana Baca, Neko Case, Diana Krall... the list goes on astounds with his playing, spinning one frenetic, snarling solo after another. The trio, though, is a true collective: it s never quite clear who exactly is leading whom; anything that any one plays can seemingly head them all in a different direction. Taylor, in particular, plays with extraordinary sensitivity. The Village Vanguard run by the Marc Ribot Trio was selected by critic Nate Chinen of the New York Times as one of his best concerts of 2012, saying The feverish clarity of the music, and its special resonance in that room, exerted a physical power. This recording puts you right there, at the foot of the stage, in a room steeped in the aura of history as the band s collective intuition and extrasensory attunement magically unfold before you.
Live at the Village Vanguard is surely the most pungent of album titles, promising top-tier New York musicians and an environment that brings out the best in their playing. Such icons of 20th-century jazz as John Coltrane and Bill Evans made some of their most revolutionary musical statements at the famous Greenwich Village basement, so you couldn t exactly call the booking policy conservative. Still, iconoclastic ex-Tom Waits guitarist Marc Ribot is more leftfield than the club s usual fair. This very personal tribute to Coltrane and Albert Ayler, hero of the 1960s avant garde, is accompanied by drummer Chad Taylor and bassist Henry Grimes (who last appeared at the Vanguard with Ayler himself in 1966). It s electrifying, veering from heart-stopping tenderness to paint-stripping cacophony. --The Irish Times