Monday, January 09, 2006

still more signs of life

Ben Ratliff nicely delineates a bit of how "mainstream" jazz is changing, or being changed, in his Chris Lightcap Quintet review.

An important element is the continuing integration of free and "straight" (I'm not exactly sure what a non-pejorative opposite to the term free jazz would be) and in and out. A simple enumeration of the musicians in the Quintet (Tony Malaby, Mark Turner, Craig Taborn, Gerald Cleaver) gives a good list of people pushing the music forward by exploring this nexus (along with the use of electronics in the case of Taborn and Cleaver and rhythmic composition in the case of Taborn's work with Tim Berne. Taborn was awe-inspiring in a February 2005 concert in Berne's trio with Tom Rainey).

Ratliff says: "There was strong rhythm, good intonation between sections of vamping, a natural harmonic cooperation. But there were also energy-building whirlpools of action and reaction, spilling outside a given rhythm and tonal center." I'm not sure what intonation has to do with vamping, but I get the gist of it, I think. He also says that the "quintet's show at the Cornelia Street Cafe on Friday showed how jazz has changed in a short time," but I would have liked him to make a little more explicit compared to what the music has changed, or which aspects of it.