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Chris Lightcap

Chris Lightcap

Chris Lightcap busts a cap in conventions: The bassist includes two tenor saxophonists in the quartet he formed five years ago, featuring them in edgy dialogue on his first album, Lay-Up, and in nervy conversation on the funky follow-up, Bigmouth (both on Fresh Sound New Talent). The 31-year-old isn’t anti-piano; he just strikes chords with tenor saxophonists.

“I knew so many great tenor players in New York City,” he says. “I actually got comfortable with not having a piano player in the band because of, well, the absence of pianos.” The bassist’s pragmatism extends to his playing, as well. As a soloist, Lightcap is hard on the bop. As a composer, he’s loose and lenient, leaving space for players’ personalities to direct the shapes of their improvisations. “As composing goes, I don’t think of myself as a puppet master,” Lightcap says. “Sometimes I write less than more. I played with Joe Morris a lot, and he always talked about using tunes as springboards-providing a set of implications for improvisers.”

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