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Album Review

As an important contributor to the Chicago underground creative music scene, drummer and composer Chad Taylor has been on the rise, even leading his own groups. Circle Down should elevate him much further nationally and internationally, a beautiful statement of modern jazz music played with attractive melodic content courtesy of pianist Angelica Sanchez, the deft bass musings of Chris Lightcap, and Taylor's spot-on rhythmic shadings, mid-level urgency, and a taste factor that should appeal to many stripes of listeners. This set of originals — with no scent of standards — is played with ease, grace, and dynamism, especially from the viewpoint of Sanchez. She is developing into a first-rate post-Geri Allen performer whom everyone should be paying close attention to in the coming years. Playing pretty on "Box Step" or in sneaking, tip-toe refrains through raucous discourse during the steadied beats of "Rock," Sanchez proves an able and original musician that can transcend both time and space. Lightcap continually emerges as a force of natural rhythmic propulsion, via his probing, two-note musings on "No Brainer," setting up, then establishing a rolling stream of consciousness between Sanchez and Taylor. The Asiatic flavor of "Traipse" is undeniably lovely, another example of how this trio dedicates itself to a certain sophistication wise beyond its years. Where the first half of the program concentrates on the compositions of Sanchez and Lightcap, Taylor's pen takes over on the remainder of the session. "Opal" is a lithe theme in 6/8 time, and "Level" is only slightly diffuse but more elusive, à la Allen or perhaps Cecil Taylor. There's the short waltz "Miriam"; a repeat Latin/Spanish sentiment to variation from Sanchez pervading "Pablo"; and Taylor finally getting a workout for "Pascal" with Lightcap, as Sanchez rambles on. Every selection is finely crafted and thoughtfully performed, and it is rare that any modern jazz effort is so satisfying from start to finish. What is even more remarkable is that there is no wasted motion, no histrionics or grandstanding, as pure emotion is translated to superlative music making on this most highly recommended recording, one for the ages. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Circle Down, Chad Taylor
View In iTunes
  • $9.90
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Oct 27, 2009

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