Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Keefe Jackson and Quartet Notch Off A Winner
Chicago. I've written about some of the very lively music coming out of there on numerous occasions. Today, another CD by some of the brightest in the firmament. Keefe Jackson, with his tenor, his bass clarinet and his jazz compositions, leads a quartet on the new Seeing You See (Clean Feed 176). It's a superb combination of musical vehicles and lustrous blowing.
Keefe has his own sound and approach. He is not given to the continuous unleashing of extra-timbral resonances (nothing wrong with that, though), but concentrates more on creating interesting lines. He is in terrific form on this album. Then there's Jeb Bishop, a trombonist that perfectly aligns stylistically with Jackson. He too is after the expressively outgoing linear improvisation. And he happens to be one of the most formidable trombone talents to come along in quite some time. The rhythm section finds the virtually ideal embodiment in Jason Roebke on bass and Noritaka Tanaka on drums. They can swing strongly or take a more diffuse freetime approach, or something in between the two (which may be hardest to pull off) depending on the character of the piece at hand. And they do it with seeming ease, which belies the hard work and dedicated realization of talent that it takes to get to their level.
I find just about everything that this loose confederation of Chicago cats put across to be important music. This one takes the legacy of Ornette's classic pianoless quartets and builds a new, sparklingly clean-edged edifice on top of it. Highly recommended.