Craig Taborn Trio Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sun., April 28, 8 p.m. 2013

Pianist Craig Taborn has led his trio with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Gerald Cleaver since 2007, but the group only finally released its first recording, the remarkable Chants (ECM), this week. Few keyboardists in jazz are as mercurial as Taborn, and fewer still marry rigorous technique so thoroughly to deep ideas. A highly empathetic player, he favors an ensemble approach in almost everything he does—he’s made significant contributions to bands led by Roscoe Mitchell, Tim Berne, Dave Binney, and Nicole Mitchell, among others—and his huge stylistic range, from Bill Evans-style introspection to Cecil Taylor-strength extroversion, makes it easier for him to blend in no matter where he ends up. Considering how thoroughly Taborn and his bandmates seem to have internalized the material on Chants, it’s no wonder it took the group six years to get there. On “Saints” and “Hot Blood” Taborn all but creates his own Bach etudes, with deft two-handed inventions cycling within the rhythmic schemes of his nimble partners. His shape-shifting compositions add to the fluid complexity of the songs—despite their many interlocking parts, they never feel halting or mechanical, and their constant destabilizing motion is offset by meticulous construction that allows each player great improvisational latitude. The trio draws upon a lot of jazz-piano history without sounding much like any of its precursors; its melodies, rhythms, and spectral harmonies are all in flux at every moment, adding up to a sound as compelling as anything I’ve heard all year. —Peter Margasak

Price: $15

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