Lafayette Gilchrist: Between Us
Lafayette Gilchrist (piano)
Soul Progressin' (Hyena HYN 9371)
Lafayette Gilchrist (piano),
Mike Cerri, Freddy Dunn (trumpets), John Dierker (bass clarinet), Gabriel Ware (alto sax), Gregory L. Thompkins (tenor sax), Anthony “Blue” Jenkins (bass), Nathan Reynolds (drums).
Composed & arranged by Lafayette Gilchrist.
Recorded: Silver Spring, MD, date unknown, released 2008
Rating: 93/100 (learn more)
Lafayette Gilchrist has said that the first record he bought was Money Jungle, featuring the trio of Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. His piano style, however, seems to draw most from Andrew Hill, and he even dedicates to Hill his solo piano selection, "Uncrowned," on his new Soul Progressin' CD. Maybe Gilchrist's exposure to both Ellington and Hill can in part explain his impressive orchestrations for his working octet, The New Volcanoes. The pianist's music often exhibits a hardnosed inner-city edge, no doubt reflecting his being raised first in Washington, D.C., and then in Baltimore, where he still resides. Mix in Gilchrist's appreciation of D.C. go-go, soul, funk and hip hop, and the end result is a naturally evolving contemporary vision, unpredictable and non-clichéd. Certainly saxophonist David Murray, who has retained Gilchrist as his pianist since 2000, would agree, as would guitarist Vernon Reid, who recommended him to the late Joel Dorn at Hyena Records.
The captivating track "Between Us" is bolstered by the prevailing hip-hop influenced rhythmic patterns set up by bassist Jenkins and drummer Reynolds. Gilchrist's arrangement induces deeply satisfying colorations from his horn section, with Dierker's bass clarinet the foundation, as an urgent refrain reappears again and again. Gilchrist's semi-abstract solo is delivered with a deliberate, understated delicacy, in contrast to the horns' more aggressive assertions. Dierker's dexterous solo is varied in approach, sometimes guttural, sometimes lyrical. Reynolds's riveting improv precedes the horns' final mellifluous playing of the central motif. Then it's left to just Gilchrist's punched out chords, before he bows out and only bass and drums remain to bring this absorbing performance to an easeful halt.
Reviewer: Scott Albin
Tags: 2000s jazz