Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book of Three, Continuum (2012), Taylor Ho Bynum, John Hebert, Gerald Cleaver

Anyone who regularly reads this blog and listens to what comes out knows that Taylor Ho Bynum is a heavy--a cornetist with a great imagination, good ideas and a personal sound. Similarly bassist John Hebert and drummer Gerald Cleaver are important presences on the new improvisation scene, top caliber players with original musical personalities. Put the three together as Book of Three, turn them loose and you've got something. That's what happens on their CD Continuum (2012) (Relative Pitch 1012).

Of course a trio configuration like this one gives all three artists a clarity of presence and exposes their playing in the most aurally transparent way. Bynum, Hebert and Cleaver rise to the occasion and create a very open, pulsating happy three-way coincidence.

They start out with a Bobby Bradford number, and one is immediately put in mind of the Bradford-Ornette nexus and the great music it has produced. But of course this is a trio with its own way so one then adjusts to the improvisational distinctiveness they bring to the music. The program goes on to feature compositions in a three-way collaboration, some solid Cleaver pieces and one each by Jim Hobbs and Salim Washington.

The play is the thing with these creative three, ultimately, and we are treated to some excellent interactions. All sound great, whether swinging along with a time element or diving into freetime excursions.

One comes away from a hearing of this disk with the desire to hear it again, and again. A sign that this is important music is that the luster never fades the more you listen. It only glows more brilliantly. This is one to hear, by all means.

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