Friday, August 19, 2022

Tarbaby, Featuring Oliver Lake, Dance of the Evil Toys


Just what or where we go in our music present and future is not always clear to me. Like all of us in these days we peer over the horizon and hope for good things. Happily here is a good thing that I am very glad I have come to know. It is the trio Tarbaby with the brilliant Oliver Lake featured as altoist guest. The release is entitled Dance of the Evil Toys (Clean Feed 590CD). 

The trio foundation of this album presents itself as a thing apart, as a thoroughly personal Avant Jazz kind of possibility--with Orrin Evans on piano, someone I have missed for some reason but very glad to encounter here. Then there are the ever-inspired bassist Eric Revis and the wildly swinging and cosmic drummer Nasheet Waits. For much of the album Oliver Lake sounds absolutely essential on alto, and for a few pieces there is trumpetist John Lawrence; for one piece percussionist Dana Murray joins in.

What seems remarkable to me as I listen with appreciation is the wonderfully effective fit of improvisation with Jazz composition. A kind of AfterBop afterburn is sometimes nicely to be felt along with freely yet contentfully expressed Avant Jazz momentum. So we get an obscure but moving Trudy Pitts song with band vocal nicely articulated by Orrin Evans, then there are several gems by Oliver Lake, one by Josh Lawrence, several gems by Eric Revis, a nice one by Nasheet and then closing the set Prince's "Sometimes it Snows in April."

What stays with you as you listen is the care which went into this music, from the outstanding set of compositions to the very astutely constructed group sound and the always beautiful improvising cameos by all concerned.

Highly recommended, a very worthy highlight from the new year of Jazz offerings thus far, a classic for today. Do not miss this!

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