The Upshot: Adventurous jazz pianist serves up a remarkable work that takes his artistry to the next level.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
One of the busiest pianists in jazz, Craig Taborn regularly makes the rounds with Tim Berne, David Torn, Dave Holland, Ches Smith and more, alongside leading his own ensembles. His seventh album under his own name, Daylight Ghosts showcases the Minneapolis-born New Yorker’s range and versatility. Joined by sax ‘n’ clarinet man Chris Speed, longtime bass associate Chris Lightcap, and Bad Plus drummer Dave King, Taborn displays a stunningly sure and confident touch on the keyboard, equally comfortable on fast, free jazz runs, knotty off-time riffs, and lyrical melodicism.
Check out the dissonant trills, not unlike those of the sadly obscure Don Pullen, that power opener “The Shining One,” or the tumbling note clusters that color “New Glory.” His compositional approach similarly elicits a wide range, moving from the ethereal atmospherics of “The Great Silence” to the sinister rambling of “Phantom Radio” to the free-moving, mood-swinging momentum of “Ancients” and the title track. He also plots a gorgeous rendition of Roscoe Mitchell’s “Jamaican Farewell” – a tribute to a key influence.
As amazing as his technique and writing are, however, what’s most impressive is Taborn’s ability to utilize all the aspects of jazz that appeal to him strictly for his own purposes – these songs and performances never sound like they’re coming from anybody but himself. A remarkable work that takes his artistry to the next level, Daylight Ghosts puts Taborn in the league of the jazz greats.
DOWNLOAD: “Daylight Ghosts,” “New Glory,” “Phantom Radio”