These indie-jazz labels are a catalyst for jazz right now, September update
Different every time? Can you say that about every jazz artist, truthfully meaning they don't rely on the same old licks however disguised, fall back on the same old standards, resort to groove as a means to an end instead? No, not at all.
But you can with Craig Taborn. The American's approach stays with you when you have left the venue, the sheer impact of his performance has departed, the mystery of his dissonances, the steely seriousness of his ideas well on their way to becoming a memory as you return to your humdrum ways unsoundtracked by his sense of pure abstraction.
A solo piano album of improvisation is an event when a pianist as great as Taborn decides to deliver the materials for one and 'A Code with Spells' from Shadow Plays, (ECM, out on 8 October) his new live in Vienna recording performed at the Konzerthaus in March 2020, bodes well on this substantial chunk of evidence alone.
Evidence? That seems an appropriate word given that Taborn is an investigator who turns up new detail when he sits down to play, charts new terrain that no one else knows. At over 8 minutes the piece begins gently with restless chord changes, later it's far more agitated but never really a full assault. He navigates the hinterland between tonality and atonality. Art of the anti-ballad? Perhaps. Buying into easy moods is not what Taborn is about. He is a radical artist in this rejection of the nicety of form and in his ready embrace of the impact of an unresolved chord.