Eric Revis - bass
Chad Taylor - drums
Not Two 2011
There's something immensely enjoyable about this cd, which is the second release from the trio ("Ritual" came out in 2009 on Clean Feed). The music is direct, authentic, somehow both rich & simple. Right from the joyfull and danceable groove of "Song for Dyani" (one of the two compositions on the disc by Chad Taylor) you know you're in for a treat. There's emotional power and expressivity of free-jazz, rhythm sensibility and spirituality associated with AACM and its Great Black Music tradition and yet it's much more mainstream than you'd expect. Avram Fefer's tone is round and elegant, although he can also get wild and take it to the edge. Eric Revis and Chad Taylor are both great laying thick and infectious rhythms, their interplay is clear and deep. Taylor's inclined towards african -like percussive sounds, Revis anchors the melodies with immovable precision, and he's rock solid at the spot.
The music is very melodic, very song-like indeed, and the themes are in fact catchy. While it doesn't break any boundaries in terms of tonality or expression there's something so honest to it that it sounds fresh and inspiring no matter what. In fact you can easily drop the 'free' adjective, it's just jazz, adventorous and free in spirit, passionate but also accessible, bringing bit wider range of expression into mainstream. Think some Archie Shep albums maybe (especially in the ballad "A Taste for Love").
There's no sense in this case in presenting more closely particular compostions, nor the brevity of this text should in any way imply that there's no substance there to talk about. It should rather stand for the power of the apparent simplicity of this record, no madness here, no experiments really (which isn't to say that there isn't a lot happening), just some great playing that comes both from the heart and technical and musical prowess. So instead of trying to figure out some other ways to describe it or things to point out I'll just play the CD again. And I suggest you find it and to the same.
ps. I can't wait to hear the band live - they're playing in Alchemia on 30.05. The trio plays also some other dates around that time in Poland, Czech, Austria - make sure to see them if you're nearby any of those.