An important album from three of the most interesting musicians now playing. I've heard it through several times - & I'll listen to it very many more. Great interplay between these musicians creating the future of jazz. So unlike the very many interchangeable, lazy, cliche-ridden piano trios with which we are now awash. Alongside Jason Moran, Vijay Iyer & Fly this is essential listening. I am hearing something unique & inquisitive here. ECM, always peerless, have had an exceptionally strong release schedule over the last year - long may it continue. Art of the highest order.
Four and a half IMPRESSIVE Stars! Award-winning jazz virtuoso keyboardist Craig Taborn's latest trio recording "Chants" is a marvelous, adventuresome acoustical mixture of original tone poems which allow pianist Taborn, and the talented duo of bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Gerald Cleaver to cut loose in what I would call very-approachable 'lyrical chamber avant garde'. The artist has stated he wants to achieve a "chamber ensemble texture" in his solo playing and that certainly carries over to his trio piano playing which expands even more so with his two cohorts. This is a musically rich recording that lures one back to gain insight into the music of an ascending artist who won three categories in the 2011 DownBeat Critics poll (rising star wins on piano and organ, and an outright 'established artist' win over keyboard titans like Hancock and Corea on electronic keyboards). The 'best of the best' begins with "Saints" with a mixture of classical and simple rhyme elements that swing mightily and shows Taborn's formidable technique. The repetitive propulsion of both "Beat The Ground" and "Speak the Name" tantalize and tests the listener's ability to hear minute changes amid a fusillade of swinging notes. "In Chant" is peaceful crystalline beauty with wistful solos by all concerned. And perhaps best of all a swinging blazing "Hot Blood" and the mercurial "All True Night/Future Perfect". Craig Taborn is one of the new lions of jazz piano to many of us, although at age 43, he's been building his impressive solo, sideman, and leader discography for 15 years now. Highly Recommended. Challenging and beautiful, captured on a pristine ECM recording soundscape. Four and a half INTRIGUING Stars. (9 tracks; time:64:29.)