Monday, April 7, 2008

REPLAY


Last month, Craig, I wrote a blog about the influence James Carter's first album “JC on the Set” had on me, and how much I believed you and the saxophonist were compatible, noting there was a stretch where I listened to the album damn near every day for a solid year.

To this day, when I replay it I can’t just listen to it once then walk away. I have to replay it over and over. You are partially responsible for that.

Writing about the album, I didn’t convey you’re also responsible for some of my most cherished listening experiences.

The first experience that springs forth is your solo on “The Intimacy of My Woman’s Beautiful Eyes,” the third track on Carter’s third album “The Real Quietstorm”. Craig you had the piano serenading.

On your solo you express those feelings and emotions men harbor, but have a difficult time, for whatever reasons, conveying. Your fingers were like ten poets strolling along the piano keys. I would point to that moment if asked to name my favorite instrumental solo of all times.

The chemistry you and Carter delayed on his classic albums “Jurassic Classics,” “The Real Quietstorm,” and “Conversin’ with the Elders,” should be bottled and given to any budding musicians curious about how band members should inspire and complement each other.

I was upset when you and Carter slit. I wondered, particularly when I was reminiscing about the saxophonist’s music, how to musicians with so much in common decide it times separate. Did you guys just get sick of each other?

I kept abreast of James’ musical evolution, but at times I lost track of your career. I heard you moved to Brooklyn, New York, and signed with Thirsty Ear. You fatten your resume’ gigging with drummer Susie Ibarra, saxophonists Roscoe Mitchell, Chris Potter, and Lotte Anker.

I purchased a copy of your debut release for Thirsty EarLight Made Lighter". I wasn’t taken by it like I was with your first album as a leader titled “The Craig Taborn Trio,” which you made with members of Carter’s quartet drummer Tani Tabbal and bassist Jaribu Shahid.

In 2003, a few years, before the Harlequin Café, in Indian Village, closed down, I got a chance to hear you with guitarist A. Spencer Barefield’s group. None of the cats could match your creativity, but you shone nonetheless.

Seeing you at the Harlequin didn’t compare one bit to the first time I heard you live in 1997 with Carter in Ann Arbor, MI at Hill Auditorium. Carter’s quartet headlined the Blues, Roots, Honks, and Moans concert. That evening you had such a big sound I though you were playing two pianos simultaneously.

Last year, at the Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music, you performed with saxophonist Lotte Anker and drummer Gerald Cleaver. It was the last night of the two day fest, and the trio closed it out with a bang. I was there from sun up to sun down both days. I recall you guys getting the only standing ovation.

You did everything to the piano but crawl inside it. The image of you finger whirling on the keys like propellers stuck inside my head for months.

Although I don’t get a chance to hear you as often as I would like, I have those moments, images, and solos frozen in time inside of my memory.
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