Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Tain & the Ebonix|
10-track CD on Dark Key, 2007.
Listen to Samples
10-track CD on Dark Key, 2007.
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Jazz of Consequence
Jan P. Dennis | Monument, CO USA | 12/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jazz can be ravishingly beautiful. Or challenging. Or culturally relevant.
Rarely, is it all these at once.
But that's what Jeff "Tain" Watts has done with his latest release, Tain & the Ebonix's Folk's Songs.
Not only is there a youthful ebullience all over this disc; there's also, and somewhat unexpectedly, a hard-won maturity. Not really a world-weariness, but close to it. This note, generally throughout the disc, comes prominently and dramatically into play on "Ling's Lope," a loose-limbed, jaunty-mournful number showcasing pianist Dave Kikoski's huge feeling for blooze-drenched, three-in-the-morning insomniac craziness even as it, simultaneously, situates Christian McBride's double-bass playing squarely in the tradition of such masters as Paul Chambers, Charles Mingus, Ron Carter, and Dave Holland.
Marcus Strickland, fully coming into his own on tenor and soprano sax, more than holds his own. I especially like his concept on soprano--fluid and airy enough to avoid both the Scylla of sappiness and the Charybdis of nasal whine. His tenor playing displays a rich heritage of influences ranging from Stan Getz to Joe Lovano including a big, brawny Gene Ammons-ish tone as well as a feathery Joe Henderson approach.
The leader, blessed with chops and timing out the wazoo, likewise manages to navigate a tricky course of percussive virtuosity even as he sidesteps the temptation toward bombast, not always absent from previous outings. Check out his consummate mastery on "Laura Elizabeth."
One of the most attractive things about this disc is the madly wide variety of musical sensibilities that it casually assays: Each track is dedicated to a different maestro, ranging from Dewey Redman to Curtis Mayfield.
If you're looking for lightly worn killer swing mapped onto thoroughly modern jazz sensibilities, look no further: You've hit the jackpot.
This is jazz at its most beguiling."
Olukayode Balogun | Leeds, England | 06/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Along with some others I've mentioned in recent reviews, Jeff "Tain" Watts was one of the more recent jazz drummers who made me realise that they're not in the band just to keep time. Oh, no; theirs is actually a jazz instrument in its own right. Although I never got round to reviewing it, his 2002 album Bar Talk really opened my eyes, especially with the David Budway tune "Kiss" on which to me, it almost sounded as if the drums were actually speaking. It's a great album, featuring people like Ravi Coltrane, Branford Marsalis, Michael Brecker, Hiram Bullock and James Genus (just to name a few) and I recommend it highly. Listen out also, for the dreamy ballad "Tonality of Atonement". It's a killer.
This one right here from 2007 and once again self-produced by Watts, is very good but not quite as good as "Bar Talk" in my opinion. The inclusion of two tracks written by Keith Jarrett (who I simply cannot abide) didn't help and the tunes in question, "Rotation" and "Rotation II", to these ears, just sound broken up and noisy. There's also a vocal track, "Same Page..." sung by Juan Tainish, that left a lot to be desired. (He also provided some vocals on a song on "Bar Talk" but did a much better job there). I'm not sure what the intention was but he's off-key and totally lacking in any warmth or emotion.
There is some good stuff on here though. The opening tune, "Samo ©", the ballad "Laura Elizabeth", "Blues 4 Curtis" (which features guitarist David Gilmore) and the album closer "Blasphemy", written by the late Kenny Kirkland, are all standout tunes that manage to bring the the album up to the level of worthwhile purchase.
Apart from the aforementioned, Watts is also joined on this project by Marcus Strickland on tenor and soprano sax, Christian McBride on acoustic and electric bass, David Kikoski on pianoforte, Henry Hey on keyboards and Samuel Torres on percussion.
So all in all, a pretty decent album. Watts' drum patterns are very entertaining if you listen out for them. I just know from previous experience that the man is capable of producing great ones. He didn't quite make it this time out. Not in my opinion anyway."
James E. Anderson | Australia | 05/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At first I worried that Strickland was just playing too straight and that he was making the whole CD boring. Then during the 3rd play through I started to see that here was a full-steam-ahead masculine vibe being communicated so well. No flower sniffing allowed. Now I dig it.
Kikoski's playing is oh-so-tasty with a great sounding piano beautifully recorded, as is the drumset. Tain is perfect.
Christian McBride is good throughout. The fundamentals of his notes were a bit lacking on my system - definitely no boominess problems.
Can't go wrong with any of Tain's dates as a leader, on record or live.