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Craig Taborn (born 1970) is an American keyboardist and composer. Playing piano, organ, and Moog synthesizer, Taborn has worked mostly in jazz, although he also does dark ambient and techno music. Taborn became known for his membership in saxophonist James Carter's band, where he contributed to The Real Quietstorm (1994) and Conversation with the Elders (1996). In 1995, he graduated from the University of Michigan with a liberal arts degree. During the 1990s he also worked with Mat Maneri (Blue Deco, 2000), Roscoe Mitchell, Nate Smith, Gerald Cleaver, Lotte Anker, Dave Binney, Wayne Krantz, Adam Rogers and others. During the 1990s he also led his own trio. In the 2000s he played in the US with Tim Berne (The Shell Game, 2001), in a trio with Susie Ibarra (Songbird Suite, in 2001 and Folkloriko in 2004). In 2002 he worked with Dave Douglas (Freak in), Hugh
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CRAIG TABORN Discography

CRAIG TABORN albums / top albums

CRAIG TABORN Craig Taborn Trio album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Craig Taborn Trio
Nu Jazz 1994
CRAIG TABORN Light Made Lighter album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Light Made Lighter
Nu Jazz 2001
CRAIG TABORN Avenging Angel : Piano Solo album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Avenging Angel : Piano Solo
Avant-Garde Jazz 2011
CRAIG TABORN Chants album cover 4.45 | 2 ratings
21st Century Modern 2013
CRAIG TABORN Daylight Ghosts album cover 4.24 | 4 ratings
Daylight Ghosts
21st Century Modern 2017
CRAIG TABORN Craig Taborn And Ikue Mori : Highsmith album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Craig Taborn And Ikue Mori : Highsmith
Avant-Garde Jazz 2017
CRAIG TABORN Craig Taborn and Vadim Neselovskyi : The Book Beri'ah Vol 11-Da'at album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Craig Taborn and Vadim Neselovskyi : The Book Beri'ah Vol 11-Da'at
World Fusion 2019


CRAIG TABORN The Val-Inc Remixes album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Val-Inc Remixes
Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 2004

CRAIG TABORN live albums

CRAIG TABORN The Tower Tapes #3 : Craig Taborn & Dave King album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Tower Tapes #3 : Craig Taborn & Dave King
Avant-Garde Jazz 2020

CRAIG TABORN demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

CRAIG TABORN re-issues & compilations

CRAIG TABORN singles (0)

CRAIG TABORN movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)


CRAIG TABORN Craig Taborn And Ikue Mori : Highsmith

Album · 2017 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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After the release of probably his best album ever, "Daylight Ghosts", earlier this year, pianist Craig Taborn comes with a radically different work - a free improvisation collection recorded by a duo of himself and downtown laptop artist Ikue Mori.

Mori started her musical career as a self-taught percussionist in the New York no-wave scene, but soon switched to drum machines and electronics. During the last decade, she played and recorded regularly with many avant-garde jazz renown artists, including pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, violinist Mark Feldman, harpist Zeena Parkins, vocalist-electronicist Maja Ratkje, guitarist Fred Frith and cellist Okkyung Lee among many others.

A jazz duo of pianist and electronics/lap top artist probably doesn't sound like a great idea, at least on paper. Surprisingly, "Highsmith" contains more accessible and better organized music than one could expect. It is a collection of free improvisations, recorded in studio soon after the duo played live at the Village Vanguard in 2016, and even if the music sounds like free improvs for sure, it doesn't remind one of a bulky mix of accidental piano sounds and spacey loops, that's for sure.

Taborn plays quite explosive piano passages radiating dark chamber avant-garde beauty successfully combining them with silence without loosing the music's dynamic. Mori improvises using electronic sounds and noises around Craig's more solid sound, filling the space with every-second-changing electronic wizardry. All album long, the listener can't stop marveling hearing this unbelievable masterful use of percussive, in moments abrasive sounds, as equal part of complex (if ascetic) jazzy improvisation.

Lots of things happen every single moment here and after the album's last sounds, there is not even a trace of feeling that the album was too dread, repetitive or just openly boring. Successfully avoiding both formal electronics monotony, and cheap spacey looping tricks, "Highsmith" represents one really rare example of electro-acoustic improvisational music symbiosis which isn't too formal, and contains a lot of life in it, and being really experimental can attract more than a few dedicated listeners.

Interesting new side illustration for Taborn, one of the better recordings for Mori for sure.

CRAIG TABORN Daylight Ghosts

Album · 2017 · 21st Century Modern
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Always working at the forefront of what is new and interesting in today’s jazz scene, Craig Taborn has produced one of the better albums of his career, and also one of the better new jazz albums this year with, “Daylight Ghosts”. Building on the style he established on 2013’s brilliant “Chant”, Craig continues to use repeating rhythmic figures to construct his compositions that some have compared to minimalism. Taborn’s ‘minimalism’ has very little to do with composers like John Adams or Phillip Glass, but instead reflects the timeless music of Africa and Indonesia, as well as composers who pull from that deep well such as Steve Reich. To these insistent rhythms Taborn adds a swinging flow borrowed from today’s post bop, as well as some rhythmic drive from the fusion side of things and the end result is a musical style that sounds like no one else but Craig Taborn.

One of the salient differences between “Ghosts’ and the preceding “Chant” is the addition of Chris Speed on tenor sax and clarinet, a musician who totally gets the Taborn musical vision and interacts with Craig as one mind. Much of the solo space on here finds the two musicians ‘soloing’ at the same time, almost in a method reminiscent of the earliest days of New Orleans jazz. Therein lies the roots of Taborn’s musical creation, Africa and New Orleans reconfigured for the modern age. Another new feature on “Ghosts” includes moments of reflective melody, such as “The Great Silence”, on which Chris Speed’s lonely clarinet sounds like isolated quotes from a Stravinsky recital.

Some of the best cuts on here include the opener, “The Shining One”, which features one of Craig’s best aggressive piano solos, and the hard charging “Ancient”, on which the band’s repeating rhythms take on a rock like push similar to a modern math rock combo. “New Glory” also reveals Craig’s renewed interest in melody with a high flying closing chorus that sounds like Weather Report from their Caribbean influenced mid-70s output . “Daylight Ghosts” is highly recommended for anyone who wants to hear what is new and happening in jazz.

CRAIG TABORN Daylight Ghosts

Album · 2017 · 21st Century Modern
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American pianist Craig Taborn is at the forefront of modern creative jazz.He played with saxophonists James Carter and AEOC's Roscoe Mitchell (Taborn's first presence on ECM label),collaborated with techno producer Carl Craig among others.

As leader, Taborn debuted in 1994 on Japanese DIW label. Since that he released five more solo albums covering such wide areas as nu jazz,avant-garde jazz and even jazz-electronics. Craig very often plays piano and electric keyboards combining them on the same album and freely adapting different techniques even on the same composition.Once I saw Taborn playing live as Michael Formanek band member with all-star line-up including saxophonist Tim Berne and drummer Gerald Cleaver and Craig really stole the show!

On Taborn more current releases for German ECM label (including this just released Daylight Ghosts) Craig demonstrates newest trend in modern jazz - improvisational musicianship based on tightly composed songs. His quartet contains one of the most influential representative of this stream reeds player Chris Speed (well known by his work in cult Claudia Quintet and solo works for ECM), popular American nu jazz bassist Chris Lightcup and The Bad Plus drummer Dave King.

Of nine compositions eight are Taborn originals ("Jamaican Farewell" is written by Roscoe Mitchell). Mixing rock, electronica,chamber and jazz traditions, album represents a very modern form of jazz, with big attention to composition but staying playful and lively because of continuing jazzy improvisational musicianship. This music can sound attractive for listener of very different background,incl. fans of ambient/rock/electronics, rock-jazz progressive, avant-garde jazz and third stream as well. Based more on atmospheric moods than concentration on technical perfection, this new Taborn release is one among great examples of new jazz, one of this better music making fame to respectful ECM label.


Album · 2013 · 21st Century Modern
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I saw a recent critic’s poll in a major jazz magazine that had listed Craig Taborn as today’s top pianist. That is really saying a lot considering how many incredibly gifted pianists there are these days. I’m not sure if Taborn is the best, he certainly ranks near the top, but he may very well be the most original. Its hard to come up with a truly new approach to jazz piano, so much has already been covered by others, but on “Chants”, Taborn shows he is definitely taking some paths less chosen.

Like so many other modern pianists, there is a background in Bill Evans’ extended harmonies and Keith Jarret’s strong right hand melodic-ism in Taborn’s playing, but then there is so much that belongs only to him. On the first two tracks, Craig reveals one of his major techniques which involves repeating ostinato figures that twist and intertwine somewhat like a minimalist composer’s piece, but Taborn makes it just rhythmic enough that somehow it fit’s a post bop jazz rhythm section. At this point it should be pointed out that drummer Gerald Cleaver and bassist Thomas Morgan do a great job of interacting with Taborn’s unique vision and act as mediums to bridge Taborn’s ideas to the rest of today’s post bop musical language. Both of these tracks also feature freer sections where Taborn drops the obstinate patterns and plays in an intense style somewhat similar to some of Herbie Hancock’s more aggressive outside playing.

On the third track, “In Chant” , we find another Tabornism, quiet tense space that lets time float with a sense of impending consequence. Track four opens with more interlocking rhythms, this time with a distinctly African complexity. Later tracks like “All True Night/Future Perfect” and “Silver Ghosts” reveal one more Taborn technique, the building of massive note clusters that slowly descend like a glacier. These sections can recall sound oriented composers such as Ligeti or Penderecki.

Well I’ve done my best to describe what is almost impossible to describe. Like a lot of modern jazz musicians, there is at first what seems to be an almost formal approach to this music, but as you listen further, jazz’s African roots are definitely intact and Taborn can be quite funky in his own abstract sophisticated way.

CRAIG TABORN Movies Reviews

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snobb wrote:
more than 2 years ago
idlero wrote:
more than 2 years ago
for 'Chants'
Personnel: Craig Taborn (piano), Thomas Morgan (double bass), Gerald Cleaver (drums)


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