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Album Review

Quite often, jazz albums that favor an inside/outside approach start out with fairly accessible, less extreme material and later detour into avant-garde territory. But Jon Escreet's Consequences is a post-bop/avant-garde disc that does just the opposite. This diverse 2008 session gets off to a very abstract start before subsequently demonstrating that, even though Escreet is quite comfortable with outside playing, the acoustic pianist/electric keyboardist is equally comfortable playing melodic post-bop. Consequences (which is dominated by Escreet's own compositions) opens with the 30-minute "The Suite of Consequence," an angular, difficult avant-garde piece that has some explosively Cecil Taylor-ish moments. But if "The Suite of Consequence" inspires comparisons to Taylor and Marilyn Crispell, Escreet has much more in common with Kenny Barron and Cedar Walton on the melodic post-bop offerings that follow: "Wayne's World" (which was obviously inspired by Wayne Shorter compositionally) and "Dilemma." However, Escreet returns to the avant-garde on the cerebral "Somewhere Between Dreaming and Sleeping," and he balances the inside and the outside on a performance of Andrew Hill's "No Doubt" (the only piece on this 62-minute CD that he didn't write). Consequences makes it clear that stylistically, Escreet is not easy to pin down. Escreet (who is joined by alto saxophonist David Binney, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, bassist Matt Brewer, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey) appreciates Taylor's abstraction, but he is also appreciative of pianists ranging from Barron, Walton, Herbie Hancock, and McCoy Tyner to Hill, Paul Bley, and Thelonious Monk — and the listeners who will get the most out of Consequences are the ones who can enjoy listening to avant-garde jazz one minute and straight-ahead post-bop the next. Escreet's versatility serves him well as both a pianist/keyboardist and a composer on Consequences.

Consequences, John Escreet
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