In what looks to be a decent year for large ensemble jazz records - Darcy James Argue's Secret Society and Hypnotic Jazz Ensemble, to name but two - the preview from Steve Lehman Octet's new record posted by Destinatio: Out! the other day sounds especially promising. The track, "Echoes", does the trick of sounding at once very contemporary and modern, especially in the way the horns and bass riff and in Tyshawn Sorey's hip-hop influenced drumming, while at the same time echoing (right!) the works of past masters. I have to agree with Ben Ratlif in hearing a similarity with Henry Threadgill's music in the ways the riffs and beats are orchestrated. Steve Lehman himself has a wail that is reminiscent of the great Eric Dolphy both because of his gruff tone and in how his solo leaps out and swirl around the rest of the music. I'm very much looking forward to hearing more of this record.
Travail, Transformation and Flow is released by Pi Recordings and is available from, among others, Jazz Loft and amazon.com (see below).
I mentioned that the talented Tyshawn Sorey plays on the record. In this Q&A he reveals himself as a man with diverse (and almost impeccable) tastes. Beefheart, Nirvana, Braxton and Prince. Gotta love it.