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Cerebral Caverns
Sam Rivers, Reggie Workman, Gerry Hemingway
Cerebral Caverns
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1

Incorporating his straight-ahead and free jazz influences with both his classical and his Eastern music sensitivities, maestro Reggie Workman has taken the next exciting step beyond Summit Conference fast forward into the ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Sam Rivers, Reggie Workman, Gerry Hemingway, Geri Allen, Julian Priester, Al Foster
Title: Cerebral Caverns
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Postcards
Original Release Date: 9/13/1995
Re-Release Date: 9/19/1995
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Avant Garde & Free Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 782737101020


Album Description
Incorporating his straight-ahead and free jazz influences with both his classical and his Eastern music sensitivities, maestro Reggie Workman has taken the next exciting step beyond Summit Conference fast forward into the musical future. To a heady mix of traditional jazz instrumentation, he has added the texture and flavors of harp, tablas, and electronics. By varying the combination of players from piece to piece, Workman has produced a kaleidoscope of differing textures on Cerebral Caverns, using this broad and changing palette to create a compelling disc which never fails to rivet the listener's attention. "Summit Conference conveyed that we lived through the music," explains Workman, "we started with the music and we are still contributing. For Cerebral Caverns, I wanted to make a different statement," he continues, "so there are the additional voices of harpist Elizabeth Panzer and Bangladesh native Tapan Modak on tablas. And, although Geri Allen doesn't have the historical experience that Sam, Julian, and I have, she is an ideal addition to the summit conference. She's a brilliant pianist, and I know will be heard from for a long time to come." By varying the combination of players from piece to piece and by incorporating his straight-ahead and free jazz influences with his classical and Eastern music sensibilities, Workman has created a kaleidoscope of textures. On "Ballad Explorations I," Rivers and Priester communicate with Workman effortlessly. The interplay of Priester's trombone, Rivers's tenor sax, and Workman's bass creates a dark, pensive mood of shaded tones that's a seamless dialogue."What's In Your Hand" is an up, bright, exploratory piece that captures the moment with a trio of Workman, Allen, and Hemingway. "This piece was basically unplanned, as if we were saying 'we're all here right now, and we all have something to say, so let's say it.' The title," Workman explains, "comes from a statement I recall Adam Clayton Powell making to Congress: "All right, what's in your hand? What are you bringing to the table?" This was improvised, and I found that both Geri and Gerry really had something to say, they! really had something in their hands."

CD Reviews

Outstanding 90s Album From Some Greats Of The 60s
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 09/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Cerebral Caverns" is an outstanding 90s album made by some of the great jazz names of the 60s. Bassist Reggie Workman, who gained fame as a member of John Coltrane's quartet and as a sideman on some classic Blue Note albums of the 60s, has assembled an all-star group featuring some great players who first made their names in the 60s -- Sam Rivers, Julian Priester and Al Foster -- and some great players of the 80s and 90s -- Gerry Hemingway and Geri Allen. "Cerebral Caverns" alternates between spacious, Middle Eastern-tinged soundscapes like "Cerebral Caverns," "Ballad Explorations" and "Seasonal Elements," largely due to the inclusion of tabla player Tapan Hudak and harpist Elizabeth Ranzer, and modern jazz explorations like "Fast Forward," "Half Of My Soul" and "Evolution." It is quite refreshing to see that Workman, who helped forge the new sound in the 60s on the seminal Coltrane Village Vanguard recordings, is still exploring jazz's future almost forty years later."
Stuart Jefferson | San Diego,Ca | 12/31/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"One disc,55 minutes approximately. Digitally mastered,with a slight warmth to the sound,which fits perfectly with the eastern sounds of some of the tracks. The first track is very introspective. Workman(bass) plucks just the right notes creating an intelligent sounding bottom end. Gerry Hemingway(drums,electronic drum pads) fills in very delicately,never over-powering the others. Elizabeth Panzer(harp,not a harmonica) plucks some tones which add a surreal feel to the track. The star instrument on this track is played by Sam Rivers(flute),where notes seem to tumble out in short quick bursts,or individually with space left between them. To my ears there is the sound of tablas being played(Tapan Modak,tablas, is not listed on this track) at the end of this track,which picks up the overall feel of the tune for a fine finish.

The second tune is a trio of Workman,Geri Allen(piano) and Hemingway. It's played fairly free,but not so far out that it can't be enjoyed by the jazz listener new to this music. The third tune has an insistent underlying beat to it,supported by Al Foster's drums,which allows both Rivers on tenor sax and Julien Priester(trombone) to both trade back and forth,and meld their instruments together in a somewhat atonal mode. The track ends with Workman coming to the front with just the right notes for a satisfying end. The fourth track begins with Priester and Modak trading sounds back and forth,complimenting each other on their respective instruments in a call and respone mode. Hemingway's drums begin about half way through and are very subtle. Likewise Workman's bass,which is played very sparingly. Both Rivers,on tenor,and Priester come in very subtly. All of this is played to Modak's tablas,which continue out front. This composition is very open and played slowly which gives it a deep feeling of introspection. It ends on a floating note much like the entire track.

The next tune begins with Allen's piano out front in a mid-to-slow tempo. Again,the notes are open with plenty of space between them. Rivers plays some beautiful flute that dances around the sound of the piano. Workman's bass and Foster's drums are very quiet,but form a good backdrop for the others. Things pick up when Priester comes in,playing in a complimentary mode to Rivers'. The entire group,including Panzer's harp,picks up the tempo,and then slows it down once again for more of Rivers' flute. The track fades out like smoke in the air. Track six has Workman's plucked bass playing with Panzer's harp. Hemingway's drums are very subtle here,and together the two weave a very open sonic blanket that is definitely venturing into seemingly unstructured music. This track is a good example of letting musicians play seemingly at will,but the impression is of music carefully written and arranged,but left open on purpose. This track tries very hard "to be something", but doesn't quite stand up like the others in the end.

The seventh composition has Rivers on soprano sax with Workman's bass,and Allen's piano playing in and out of each other. Hemingway's drums are played to fill up any open areas. Allen's piano takes center stage,sounding not unlike Cecil Taylor in tone and note clusters. Rivers' soprano is unmistakable here,as he plays against the piano in a flurry of intense notes. Firing cluster after cluster,Rivers takes center stage,with everyone following his lead. This is another example of music seemingly made up on the spot,but still with a composed feeling to it. About three quarters through,Workman plays his bass in a walking be-bop mode that's very unexpected,only to dissolve it into what the rest of the group are playing. The final track begins with Workman bowing his bass with Panzer's harp and Allen's piano filling in spots around Workman. This is a good place to hear Allen use the piano as a true stringed instrument.

This is a very well thought out and played group of compositions. All the players are sensitive to the compositions and to each other. The blend of different players is inspired. While this may be a bit abstract for someone used to listening to straight ahead jazz,it's not difficult to get into if the listener will give it a chance. Another album by Workman,in the same mode,is SUMMIT CONFERENCE(Postcard Records) which has both Priester and Rivers playing all over it. Both are recommended to those with an adventurous,open listening spirit,who think that jazz should continue to evolve."
A bevy of small combos
Case Quarter | CT USA | 10/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"i like how workman broke the group up into different arrangements for each piece, allowing space for each of the players. al foster's sound is energetic, geri allen stretches in a way i don't hear her on her own cd's.
there's all out playing by sam rivers and julian priester on fast forward. half of my soul is a combination of eastern music and the western ballad. the entire cd works well with an eastern influence, particularly the combination of bass, harp, flute and tablas."