Craig Taborn: “Daylight Ghosts”
ECM 2527 (2017)
Craig Taborn (piano, electric piano)
Chris Speed (tenor saxophone, clarinet)
Chris Lightcap (double bass, electric bass guitar)
Dave King (acoustic and electric drums)
1.The Shining One – 03:34
2. Abandoned Reminder – 07:46
3. Daylight Ghosts – 07:36
4. New Glory – 03:14
5. The Great Silence – 05:37
6. Ancient – 08:15
7. Jamaican Farewell – 05:39
8. Subtle Living Equations – 04:31
9. Phantom Ratio – 08:29
Craig Taborn, who rose to fame with his success in James Carter Quartet, declared he is here to stay when he released Junk Magic, his third album released through Thirsty Ear in 2004. The path he took to success, especially through his latest ECM albums, is similar to the career steps taken by The Beatles with their albums always surpassing the previous by never repeating themselves and through increasing their musical richness. Taborn’s music is ever-changing and becoming even more specialized and developed with his every next album.
Taborn has performed as a sideman for many ECM albums but released his first solo album “Avenging Angel” with the suggestion of the famous producer Manfred Eicher after a long solo piano tour in Europe in 2011. This album was followed by his 2013 trio album “Chants” with Thomas Morgan on the double bass and Gerald Cleaver on the drums. The pianist threw a curve ball at all his listeners who were expecting a piano/double bass album next (He must be thinking that the Jarrett-Haden masterpiece “Last Dance”, released from ECM, will satisfy jazz lovers for quite a while) and released Daylight Ghosts with a different and exciting new team.
As I mentioned above, the band is nothing short of delicious: Chris Nightcap, whom I am used to seeing in Regina Carter albums, plays the double bass, Dave King, a Minnesota-born musician like Taborn who has already proved himself with his The Bad Plus performance, Chris Speed, who has accompanied avant-garde jazz musicians such as Michael Formanek and Hilmar Jensson as well as playing an important part in Dave Douglas’s earlier albums, plays the saxophone and the clarinet.
Those who have been following these musicians and their work in the previous years can easily realize that they bring their personal styles in the foreground during their improvisation windows in “Daylight Ghosts”. In addition to this, many authorities agree that we are confronted with an album that doesn’t follow the usual “intro-solos-outro” format, but the pieces circle around this idea. The harmony and synergy shared by the group members affect the listener with their non-monotonous natures, just like an endless sea that is calm and untouched in the morning, only to get rough with waves in the later hours.
The Shining One starts out with a memorable ostinato, and is almost like a trailer for those who have been following Craig Taborn’s work with admiration until now, and are waiting to see what he will come up with next in this album.
Taborn tries to express his idea of the “ghost” concept with Abandoned Reminder; a piece that directs the listeners’ attention to the different speech between the musicians with its calm steps at first, only to end with an ostinato. I thought Chris Speed’s performance in this piece was similar to lhan Erşahin’s for some reason.
New Glory is a funky and dynamic piece. Talborn’s alchemy in the previous pieces come together to become a whole in this piece and envelop the listener.
The only piece in this album that wasn’t composed by Craig Taborn is Jamaican Farewell from Roscoe Mitchell’s 1997 ECM album “Nine to Get Ready”. In this piece Chris Speed proves the fact that the clarinet can also be used in jazz. The Great Silence feels almost like it was written for Speed, with its piano and clarinet intro. Ancient delights the listener with Chris Nightcap’s intro, which almost encourages the listener to grab a paper and a pen and to transcribe it, followed by the band’s accompaniment.
We have been following the mysterious journey of Craig Taborn in the world of jazz. Daylight Ghosts is the 4th album that Taborn has released from ECM as the group leader, and is likely to become a classic in the future with its combination of pure jazz, electronics, funk and ultimately quality music, just like any ECM product.