Memphis-bred bassist-composer Stephan Crump has gained some notoriety around New York as an electric bassist with such renegade fusion outfits as Bobby Previte's Voodoo Down Orchestra and Gregg Bendian's Mahavishnu Project. For Tuckahoe he focuses strictly on upright bass while showcasing his eclectic compositional tendencies in the company of a savvy postmodern outfit featuring Chris Cheek on tenor and soprano saxes, Miguel Zen¢n on alto sax, Jamie Fox on guitar and Dan Rieser on drums.
There's a touch of melancholic introspection on the CD's evocative opener, "Dega," as Cheek's soprano and Zen¢n's alto weave delicately over the open-ended form. The lively "Allende" carries a distinct Latin flavor and features a particularly fiery solo by newcomer Zen¢n, who is also gaining recognition with David Sanchez's band. The spirit of Crump's native Memphis can be heard on the Muscle Shoals-ish ballad "Here's a Goodbye" and they travel down to N'awlins on a funereal procession entitled "Stolid," which features more strong alto work from Zen¢n. The influence of Ornette Coleman's writing style can be heard on "Deluge," which features a frantic, freewheeling breakdown section between Fox's guitar and Rieser's drums. The suitelike title track is a darkly dissonant crawl while the lyrical closer, "Dance of the Infidels," is sweetness and light by comparison. The moody, shape-shifting "Eweslepe" and the mellow, gospel-flavored number "The Clowns Go Marching On" are examples of Crump's best writing on this collection.
First-rate playing by all the principals on this auspicious debut from Crump, a talent who bears watching.