CHRIS LIGHTCAP — Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth ‎: Deluxe (review)

CHRIS LIGHTCAP — Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth ‎: Deluxe album cover Album · 2010 · Nu Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
js
‘Deluxe’ is another fine example of how jazz is alive and well in 2011 as artists like Chris Lightcap blend what is best in today’s new developments with traditions from the past. Although often conveniently placed in the nu jazz genre, Chris and his band do not play many clichés from any genre. Their connection to nu jazz comes from some use of that genre’s repeating minimalist figures, as well as a very youthful almost indie-rock feel to their sound and production. Along with the occasional nu jazz influences, you can also hear some unpretentious Charles Mingus styled head-arrangements in the ensemble horn playing as well as some throwbacks to the early 80s when post-fusion horn players like Henry Threadgill and Arther Blythe re-discovered the joy of playing acoustic hard bop jazz that often leaned towards free jazz.

There isn't any modern studio trickery or overdubbing on here. Every song consists of stand-up bass, drums and Wurlitzer piano, all recorded without any effects, as well as two or three horn players who are capable of simultaneous improvisations without stepping on each other’s toes. The use of a Wurlitzer piano is an interesting choice and adds much to this band’s American indie rock band sound. Likewise, some tunes use repeating chord sequences that recall rustic mid-western garage rock bands as well. Other lead melodies the band uses to kick off their improvisations may also remind many of Ornette Coleman’s slow plaintive melodies that also paint a picture of large open outdoor spaces.

This is an excellent heartfelt and emotional record that sounds better the more I hear it. If I had one complaint about this group it would be that they still have not earned that ultra-confident swagger and authority that goes with the very best in jazz. If they keep up what they are doing though, in time Chris Lightcaps's Bigmouth will earn all that.
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