Friday, May 13, 2016

Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, Matthew Garrison, In Movement

Jack DeJohnette has over his career extended and recreated the possibilities of drumming in his own image, whether it is a matter of swinging in time, freely invoking open-space interactions, or creating his own irresistible deep-grooved, bebopish approach to rock-funk, straight-eight time. Of course he as a band leader has had a huge impact on the new jazz, especially in the later-'70s-early-'80s. His presence as an important, key element in Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio has carried him through to today with a legacy that impacts us all and promises to do so for a good deal of time ahead.

Yet it is a fine thing that he has lately been branching out into different projects, notably his reuniting with AACM greats in a Chicago concert (type his name into the search box above to get my review of that) and now with an excellent trio that includes Ravi Coltrane on reeds and Matthew Garrison on electric bass.

The first fruits of this collaboration are happily available to us on the new CD In Movement (ECM 2488). Jack does a bit of excellent piano playing here but is otherwise firmly planted into the matrix as the drummer. Ravi gives us his great tenor, soprano and sopranino stylings, and Matthew doubles on electronics nicely in addition to some very fine bass. The result is an intergenerational communion of highly inspired music. (Jack sat in with Coltrane's group some 50 years ago and of course Ravi is John's son as Matthew is the son of Jimmy Garrison.)

After a moving incantatory version of Trane's "Alabama," which needless to say still resonates completely and sadly with current racist backlashes, we get a program of space funk and ultra-modern jazz via a couple of collective improvisations, the classic "Blue in Green," Earth, Wind and Fire's "Serpentine Fire," Jack's own classic "Lydia" along with several other nice originals. A high-point among many such is the Jack-Ravi tribute to Trane's last drummer and an icon in himself...."Rashied" (for the late Rashied Ali).

Everybody is completely on the mark for a seminal outing--by the trio as a whole as well as definite high-water marks for each of the players involved. It is music that covers all the bases you might expect from these players and does so with exceptional spirit and verve. It is one of those highlights-of-the-year albums for me thus far.

A very happy convergence it is. You will smile to yourself no doubt when you hear it. My highest recommendation!

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