Falling down a bit on concentrated listening and write-ups. Trying to get back on the horse this week by listening to “The People I Love” by Steve Lehman Trio + Craig Taborn.
Mr Lehman is a somewhat nerdy figure. His playing and ambitious compositions are often somewhat abstract. His last album, Sélébéyone, included Raps, Beats, and electronic processing.
The People I Love is not that. While the playing, especially that of Damion Reid, is often influenced by elements of modern music, this album is basically 4 musicians in a studio playing something often close enough to Jazz Music to pass on Jazz Radio, (if there still was such a thing). There’s even a Ballad, “Chance”. If I had to call it anything, I would call it 21st Century Bebop.
Mr Lehman is an impossibly lithe player on alto, sprinting over the changes at breakneck speed, daring his coplayers to keep up. And they are certainly up to the task, especially Mr Reid whose inventiveness shines out among a group of very talented musicians.
For the Sax nerds in the audience, on this album, Mr Lehman is experimenting in particular with what Sam Newsome calls “microtonal sax”. Which is to say, using alternate fingerings to purposely influence the timbre and intonation of notes.
So, if you are interested in the future of music, it behooves you to check out where Mr Lehman and his compatriots are going.
Steve Lehman, alto sax; Matt Brewer, Bass; Damion Reid, Drums; Craig Taborn, Keyboards.