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Kris Davis/Craig Taborn: Octopus (Pyroclastic)

An oceangoing organism with one brain and eight independent neuron-bearing limbs is the perfect image to invoke for a rather intense collection of piano duets. Taborn’s guest appearance on Davis’ 2016 album Duopoly excited both players enough to prompt a U.S. tour last fall, the source of these recordings. The opening “Interruptions One,” written by … Read More “Kris Davis/Craig Taborn: Octopus (Pyroclastic)”

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Borderlands Trio – Stephan Crump/Kris Davis/Eric McPherson: Asteroidea (Intakt)

Free improvisation requires musicians to make numerous quick decisions, such as knowing when to bring the music to a collective halt rather than letting it continue down a new path. Borderlands Trio—pianist Kris Davis, bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Eric McPherson—explores this idea from several angles on its first recording. In “Carnaval Hill” the trio … Read More “Borderlands Trio – Stephan Crump/Kris Davis/Eric McPherson: Asteroidea (Intakt)”

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Kris Davis: Duopoly

The premise: Take pianist Kris Davis. Pair her up with eight respected players with whom she has never previously recorded. Limit the instrumental categories of Davis’ partners to four: guitarists (Bill Frisell, Julian Lage), drummers (Billy Drummond, Marcus Gilmore), reed players (Tim Berne, Don Byron) and other pianists (Craig Taborn, Angelica Sanchez). Have Davis do … Read More “Kris Davis: Duopoly”

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Kris Davis Underground: Save Your Breath

The octet Infrasound is named for a low-frequency tone that is felt as much as heard. A phalanx of bass clarinetists-Oscar Noriega, Ben Goldberg, Andrew Bishop and Joachim Badenhorst-are the primary messengers of this mellifluous rumble, and are at the heart of this latest ingenious concoction from composer-pianist Kris Davis. But the soulful success of … Read More “Kris Davis Underground: Save Your Breath”

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Kris Davis: Massive Threads

Kris Davis clearly communicates abstract concepts, a talent that endears her work to intellectual listeners. The imagery that comes out of her piano can be vividly cinematic, but her compositional style ensures that the sonic movie will likely be of the art-house variety. Massive Threads is the second solo piano album for Davis, and like … Read More “Kris Davis: Massive Threads”

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Kris Davis: Capricorn Climber

Which comes first, the pianist or the composer? Even on Kris Davis’ exceptional 2011 solo album, Aeriol Piano, the answer was elusive, the ingenuity of her writing and arranging seizing as much attention as her playing and improvising. On Davis’ new quintet recording, Capricorn Climber, the Brooklyn-based artist is so geared toward group interplay and … Read More “Kris Davis: Capricorn Climber”

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Kris Davis: Aeriol Piano

In what was an exceptional year for solo piano albums, Kris Davis’ Aeriol Piano and Craig Taborn’s Avenging Angel were especially striking, the work of artists using the format not as a stylistic retreat, but as a way to boldly extend and heighten their sound and vision. A fascinating companion piece of sorts to Davis’ … Read More “Kris Davis: Aeriol Piano”

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Kris Davis/Ingrid Laubrock/Tyshawn Sorey: Paradoxical Frog

While the commanding drummer Tyshawn Sorey has been known for his mathematical and muscular intensity in settings with Steve Coleman, Fieldwork, Steve Lehman and other groups, he also boasts a fascinating free sensibility, as heard on this intriguing trio date. Lines and musical sympathies converge beautifully in this group, between the flexible German-born saxophonist Ingrid … Read More “Kris Davis/Ingrid Laubrock/Tyshawn Sorey: Paradoxical Frog”

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