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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gerald Cleaver, William Parker, Craig Taborn - Farmers By Nature (AUM Fidelity, 2009) ****½

Sometimes you don't need to listen long to an album to notice its value. And this one surely redefines the piano trio as it is known. On this fully improvised set, three of today's best musicians, Gerald Cleaver on drums, William Parker on bass and Craig Taborn on piano, create some eery accessible music, giving the impression that none of the instruments plays solo, while in fact all three are soloing all the time, jointly weaving an open-ended texture of notes and phrases, without melody, with rhythm, often implicit. The title refers to their job of seeding music, something that will grow organically along the way, out of its roots and stems, unpredictable yet recognizable from its origin. The wealth of the music is not only generated from the interesting soundscapes they create, but also from the use of their instruments, which is broad and creative without being too experimental. There is nervous tension all through the album, with the three musicians reacting fast to one another, needing only a hint to move the piece on in the same coherent direction, like leaves sprouting in fast forward from growing plants. Don't miss it.

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