Nearly three minutes into the first of Take This‘ two interpretations of “Take Five,” pianist Jacky Terrasson, bassist Burniss Earl Travis II, drummer Lukmil Perez Herrera and percussionist Adama Diarra abruptly stop playing. The sudden dead silence lasts roughly three seconds, and when it passes, Travis, who had been aggressively driving the tune, finally plunks out a recognizable variation on the original melody. Up until then this “Take Five” had borne little resemblance to Dave Brubeck’s classic recording, and even after that, it only continued to suggest it.
Then there’s “Take Five (Take 2).” If you thought the first was a stretch, Sly Johnson’s beatbox doo-wopping and scatting, Travis’ minimalistic, dub-esque depth bombs and Terrasson’s wah-wah’d Rhodes will certainly instigate some head-scratching.
And so what if they do? Take This is a feast of sonic exploration, and though that same degree of daring inhabits most of the other covers, so be it. (The Beatles’ “Come Together” features only Johnson and Terrasson, whose giddy piano better evokes “Lady Madonna.”) There’s excitement and ingenuity embedded throughout these wholly original, shrewdly executed arrangements-among them Miles’ “Blue in Green” and Bud Powell’s “Un Poco Loco” played at hyper-drive speed-and those sparks carry through into Terrasson’s four compositions.
Terrasson and his team hail from far and wide: The pianist himself grew up in France; Diarra is from Mali; Perez from Cuba, etc. That they bring a host of global flavorings to the mix is a given. But more important, they check all preconceptions at the studio door.
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