With his new trio with bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Damion Reid, saxophonist Lehman combines his own original compositions with a full program of works by jazz legends like John Coltrane and Jackie McLean.
Lehman, Steve Trio, feat. Matt Brewer and Damion Reid
Label: Pi Recordings
Released in: USA
"Alto saxophonist, Steve Lehman, has arrived. The New York Times described his 2009 release Travail, Transformation and Flow (Pi 30) as "a breathtaking accomplishment" and its #1 Jazz/Pop CD of 2009. That album solidified Lehman's status as a visionary composer with powerful new ideas about the future of jazz. But on his new trio CD, Dialect Fluorescent, Lehman defies his reputation as a future-fixated modernist and combines his own original compositions with a full program of older works by jazz legends like John Coltrane and Jackie McLean. The album is not about paying homage to the jazz tradition in a respectful or dutiful way; every piece on Dialect Fluorescent is treated as an opportunity to create a bold and compelling musical statement, performed without one shred of irony or nostalgia.
While Lehman has been celebrated by critics and musicians alike for his ultramodern musical vision - saxophonists Miguel Zenon and Rudresh Mahanthappa regularly refer to him in interviews as their favorite young saxophonist - it is also his unflinching and unapologetic connection to jazz tradition that has set him apart from his peers. Lehman studied with jazz legend Jackie McLean from 1997-2001 and remains a devoted and outspoken advocate for McLean's music. In fact, while earning his Master's degree at Wesleyan University, Lehman was often criticized by fellow graduate students for being overly influenced by an earlier jazz tradition - some of them even referred to him jokingly as "Mr. Bebop." Now a doctoral candidate in Music Composition at Columbia University, Lehman has clearly established his own personal musical voice. Intensive studies with ground-breaking composers like Tristan Murail, George Lewis, Alvin Lucier and Anthony Braxton have had a powerful impact on Lehman's musical vision, but he still considers McLean to be his primary mentor. It should therefore come as no surprise that Lehman has made it a priority to create an artistic aesthetic in which modernity and tradition complement and reinforce one another.
What makes Dialect Fluorescent so striking is how Lehman burnishes both original compositions and standard repertoire with a modernistic sheen. Hearing Lehman's cutting-edge pieces like "Allocentric" and "Foster Brothers" alongside "Moment's Notice" and "Mr. E" not only shows Lehman's connection to the past but, more importantly, it highlights the legacy of John Coltrane and Jackie McLean as boundary-breaking conceptualists. The music on Dialect Fluorescent is electrified by Lehman's trio, which has been performing all over the United States and Europe since 2007. Throughout the album, Damion Reid displays an intricately dynamic conception of the modern drum set, rooted in his apprenticeship under Billy Higgins and his early experiences with Terence Blanchard and Robert Hurst, among others. Matt Brewer may be the only young bassist who can fly around his instrument like a horn player and still produce an incredibly big and propulsive sound. Whether performing the Duke Pearson classic "Jeannine" or Lehman's labyrinthine "Alloy," Brewer and Reid create a striking, contemporary sound that transforms all of the material on the album, making it feel totally connected.
Lehman's own performance on alto saxophone bristles with a distinctive combination of explosiveness and precision that has been his trademark since he burst onto New York's creative music scene in 2004. His is one of those instrumental voices that you can identify in two or three notes: the bracing, McLean-tinged saxophone sound; the seamless integration of micro-tonal pitch content into his phrasing; the rock-steady connection to the underlying pulse of the music and the ability to function like a member of the rhythm section. Lehman's last recording as a leader (Travail, Transformation and Flow) centered around his work as a ground-breaking composer and his pioneering use of spectral harmony in jazz. And while Dialect Fluorescent continues to feature many of his state-of-the-art compositions - with a particular emphasis on grooving, quick-shifting tempos - the CD's most powerful argument is for Lehman's status as one of the most important saxophone voices of his generation.
With Dialect Fluorescent, Steve Lehman, together with Matt Brewer and Damion Reid, creates a powerful new musical dialect, one that is explicitly future-minded, but still deeply-rooted in the standard language and legacy of jazz."-Pi Recording
• Show Bio for Steve Lehman
"Described as "a state-of-the-art musical thinker" and a "dazzling saxophonist," by The New York Times, Steve Lehman (b. New York City, 1978) is a composer, performer, educator, and scholar who works across a broad spectrum of experimental musical idioms. Lehman's pieces for large orchestra and chamber ensembles have been performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), So Percussion, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, the JACK Quartet, the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, and the Talea Ensemble. His recent recording, Mise en Abîme (Pi, 2014) was called the #1 Jazz Album of the year by NPR Music and The Los Angeles Times. And his previous recording, Travail, Transformation & Flow (Pi, 2009), was chosen as the #1 Jazz Album of the year by The New York Times.
The recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, Lehman is an alto saxophonist who has performed and recorded nationally and internationally with his own ensembles and with those led by Anthony Braxton, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, Meshell Ndegeocello, and High Priest of Anti-Pop Consortium, among many others. His recent electro-acoustic music has focused on the development of computer-driven models for improvisation, based in the Max/MSP programming environment. Lehman's work has been favorably reviewed in Artforum, Downbeat Magazine, The New York Times, Newsweek, and The Wire, and on National Public Radio, the BBC, and SWR.
As a Fulbright scholar in France during the 2002-2003 academic year, Lehman began researching the reception of African-American experimental composers working in France during the 1970s. His article in the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation, "I Love You with an Asterisk: African-American Experimental Composers and the French Jazz Press, 1970-1980," is based on his Fulbright research. More recently, Lehman has published writings and presented lectures on a wide range of topics, including jazz pedagogy, rhythm cognition, and European notions of American experimentalism. His current scholarship, including a forthcoming contribution to the Oxford Handbook of Spectral Music, examines the overlapping histories of spectral composition and jazz improvisation.
Lehman received his B.A. (2000) and M.A. in Composition (2002) from Wesleyan University where he studied under Anthony Braxton, Jay Hoggard, and Alvin Lucier, while concurrently working with Jackie McLean at the Hartt School of Music. He received his doctorate with distinction in Music Composition from Columbia University (2012), where his principal teachers included Tristan Murail and George Lewis.
Lehman has taught undergraduate courses at Wesleyan University, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, New School University, and Columbia University, and has presented lectures at Amherst College, UC Berkeley, The Berklee School of Music, The Banff Centre, The Royal Academy of Music in London, and IRCAM in Paris, where he was a 2011 research fellow.
Beginning in September 2016, Lehman will join the music faculty at The California Institute of the Arts."-Steve Lehman Website (http://www.stevelehman.com/bio)
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• Show Bio for Matt Brewer
"Matt Brewer was born in Oklahoma City but spent most of his youth in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Born into a musical family, Matt was surrounded by music from an early age, both his father and grandfather being jazz musicians, and his mother an avid music lover and radio DJ (who, even before Matt was born, would play classic jazz albums for him). After graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy, Matt attended the inagural class of The Juilliard Jazz Program and studied with bassists Rodney Whitaker and Ben Wolfe. After spending two years at Juilliard he decided to leave school to make time for his busy touring schedule. Since then he has worked with artists such as Greg Osby, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Lee Konitz, David Sanchez, Terence Blanchard, Antonio Sanchez, Vijay Iyer, Adam Rogers, Steve Coleman, Dave Binney, Aaron Parks, Jeff "Tain" Watts, and many others. He recently recorded his second album as a leader on the Criss Cross Jazz label. He is an adjunct faculty member at The New School, and has been a frequent guest artist/teacher at the Banff Center."-Matt Brewer Website (http://mattbrewerbass.com/biography/)
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• Show Bio for Damion Reid
"Damion Reid hailing from West Covina, California a city east of Los Angeles. He is the son of well-respected bassist and astute operatic singer and teacher. By the age of three, Damion was already playing in church. It was around the age of twelve that Damion began being mentored by the world-renowned drummer Billy Higgins. During these formative years Billy's spirit for life and music was deeply seeded in Damion's fertile mind. Seeing Damion's ability to grasp the music both, analytically and conceptually it wasn't long before Billy invited him to be a part of his drum collective. As he began to mature musically he found himself frequenting Billy's club "The World Stage," learning and playing with the likes of Billy Childs, George Bohanon and Oscar Brashear.
As Damion continued to cultivate his love for music through his high school years, he managed school life with professional obligations. Damion graduated High School and made the move to Boston, Massachusetts New England Conservatory of Music where he spent time with Cecil McBee, Danilo Perez, Fred Buda and George Russell as well as his musical peers. It was while in Boston between the years of 1998 and 1999 that he received the prestigious Alan Dawson scholarship. He then was accepted into the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of Southern California. Soon finding himself trekking to New York City to attend The New School. He then began performing and touring alongside Greg Osby, Terence Blanchard, Robert Glasper, Steve Lehman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Jacky Terrasson, Ravi Coltrane, Reggie Workman, Marcus Belgrave, Lauryn Hill, Robert Hurst, Bilal, Meshell Ndegeocello, Jason Moran, Mark Shim, Mark Turner, Chihiro Yamanaka, Steve Coleman, Bunky Green and many others."-Damion Reid Website (http://www.damionreid.com/damionreid.com/biography.php)
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Shipping Weight: 2.00 units
Quantity in Basket: None
Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog ID: PIR-CD-42
Squidco Product Code: 15875
Recorded on August 22nd, 2011 at Systems Two, Brooklyn by Mike Marciano.
Steve Lehman-alto saxophone
Damion Reid-drum set
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1. Allocentric (Intro) 3:11
2. Allocentric 4:11
3. Moment's Notice 3:49
4. Foster Brothers 4:39
5. Jeannine 6:57
6. Alloy 5:47
7. Pure Imagination 6:09
8. Fumba Rebel 6:51
9. Mr. E 3:56