For the sake of convenience Craig Taborn can be spoken of alongside names like Jason Moran and Matthew Shipp. All three gentlemen are as concerned with the future of jazz and improvised music as they are with the unquestionably glorious past, but they're not in awe of the latter to the extent that their individual futures lie in rehashing it.
Farmers By Nature, the trio Taborn is a member of alongside bass player William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver, is a potent reminder of this, and the same goes for this solo piano recital. Indeed it has an edge when it comes to emphasising the extent to which Taborn breaks with the past. On a piece like "Glossolalia" it's clear that he's the opposite of a musician in thrall to his influences. His right hand is rhapsodic but it's clear too that he's not striving for effect.
"Spirit Hard Knock" is one of the most remarkable pieces on offer, being an exercise in both broken syncopation and the power of touch, which in this case has the effect of damping certain keys in a way which makes the piece notably percussive.
The following "Neither-Nor" is an antidote to nostalgia and in its way quite rhetorical about the matter of the music's relationship with the past. It perhaps goes without saying that Taborn comes down on the side of the present, but the level of his digital dexterity is such that anyone looking for a trite description could label him a 21st century Art Tatum and not lose sleep over it.
So this is one of the `jazz' releases of the year not merely because of its level of engagement with now. It's also one because Taborn is in the business of distilling something new that's not about mere novelty. Because he is he's come of age.