Exposé Online banner

No Fast Food — Settings for Three
(Corner Store Jazz CSJ-0121, 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-08-28

Settings for Three Cover art

When last we met drummer Phil Haynes, he gave us Sanctuary, a set of pieces for solo drum kit. Settings for Three features one of the many projects Haynes is involved in, a trio with woodwind legend Dave Liebman and bassist Drew Gress, who should be well known to our readers from his work with The Claudia Quintet. This small ensemble gives each of the members lots of room to shape the character of the music, and they are all supremely skilled as both improvisors and at playing composed parts. Haynes gets credit for all of the compositions, which range from melancholy meditations to uptempo workouts. The album is dedicated to the memory of Paul Smoker (1941-2016), a trumpet player with whom Haynes worked extensively. The album’s longest piece is also the most obvious tribute, with the title “El-Smoke,” and a multipart structure that touches on many moods, from a thoughtful wooden flute with bass harmonics to a slinky groove with a ripping tenor sax to a bass solo backed by cymbal scrapes. Liebman is credited simply with “woodwinds,” and from listening, that would appear to include at least one kind of wooden flute, tenor sax, and soprano sax. The soprano occasionally verges on the kind of tone that makes it my least favorite member of the sax family, but Liebman saves the music by venturing into grittier territory at times. No matter the instrument, his playing is interesting and varied, free of stock licks, and informed by traditions well beyond American jazz. Gress lays down some great low end parts, and steps up for solos both plucked and with the bow, utilizing the freedom offered by not having a piano or guitar in the group to throw in chords from time to time. As for Haynes himself, his drumming represents a kind of harnessed chaos, always threatening to break out into freeform bursts involving everything within reach. But he keeps it contained and subtle, often relying on Gress to keep the tempo while he provides unexpected accents. He uses the kit fully, including minute variations of striking technique so that even consecutive hits on the same drum or cymbal don’t sound the same. The writing lends itself to a kind of craziness that sometimes sounds random, with brief bursts of double-time in the middle of a phrase or sudden turns into different territory. This is small-ensemble jazz at its best, with three masters at the top of their game.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Phil Haynes, Dave Liebman, No Fast Food

More info
http://www.cornerstorejazz.com/product/nffsettingsfor3

Latest news

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Visible Touch - Forgotten Land & Vienna – They're called Visible Touch though they have nothing whatsoever to do with 80s Genesis or any Genesis for that matter. Think instead of all those great 80s hair-farmer bands: The Scorpions, Judas...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues