STEVE LEHMAN:
In the Tradition

Saxophonist Steve Lehman is well known for his fierce intelligence as a composer and player. His albums including Travail, Transformation, and Flow are among the most forward looking in jazz, marked by bold concepts and rigorous methodology, offering inventive ways to approach composition, arrangement, and ensemble. His guest post for us featured recent classical composers whose cutting-edge work has influenced his own.

But many people don’t know Steve also has a deep love of the jazz tradition. As a student of great Jackie McLean, he’s been influenced by the adventurous jazz of the 1950s and 60s. The savvy folks at Pi Recordings encouraged him to showcase this side of his music – leading to the release of Dialect Fluorescent, a thrilling 21st century “blowing session” that includes covers of Coltrane, Duke Pearson, and of course McLean.

To put his new album in clearer context and celebrate an upcoming series of shows in NYC (scroll down for more details), Steve has generously shared some previously unreleased trio tracks exclusively with our readers – along with a simpatico cut from 2004 and one of the highlights of his new recording.

GAZZELONI
Steve Lehman Trio
(unreleased; artist’s recording)
2002.03.08 – New York

SL, alto sax; John Hébert, bass; Nasheet Waits, drums.

Here’s a trio take on “Gazzeloni,” a rarely covered track from Eric Dolphy’s New Thing classic Out to Lunch. Steve says: “The recording of me playing with Nasheet and Hebert is the first time I ever played with Nasheet. One of my favorite drummers of all time and he and Hebert sound amazing together as usual. We finally got to make a live record together in 2007 for Clean Feed called Manifold which also includes Jonathan Finlayson.”

JEANNINE 
Steve Lehman Trio
(unreleased; artist’s recording)
2011.06.13 – Amsterdam

SL, alto sax; Matt Brewer, bass; Damion Reid, drums.

The selection of this largely overlooked standard by Duke Pearson – previously covered by such esteemed company as Bud Powell, Donald Byrd, and even Louis Armstrong – highlights the depth of Steve’s knowledge. But what’s really important here is how his current trio puts their distinctive stamp on the material. A studio version of this track is included on the new album, allowing listeners to hear how these songs are transformed from night to night.

HAMLET
Steve Lehman’s Camouflage Trio
Interface
Clean Feed : 2004

SL, alto sax; Mark Dresser, bass; Pheeroan akLaff, drums.

This stirring tribute to John Coltrane dates to 2004 and features Lehman leading a different trio. It’s intensely emotive and starkly passionate. Steve says: “‘Hamlet’ was actually an improvised encore that we did for the concert in Coimbra, Portugal which the CD is derived from… named after Coltrane’s place of birth.”

FOSTER BROTHERS
Steve Lehman Trio
Dialect Fluorescent
Pi Recordings : 2012

SL, alto sax; Matt Brewer, bass; Damion Reid, drums.

And finally, an original composition from the current album that underlines how the trio’s concise and hard blowing approach doesn’t sacrifice any of Lehman’s innovative rhythmic sensibilities. It’s a pure pleasure, offering stuttering funk, memorable riffs, and playfully precise interplay. We’d dub it Futuristic Hard Bop if we didn’t suspect that was selling it short.

* * *

UPCOMING SHOWS AND MORE INFO: 

JUNE 7-8-9 (Thurs/Fri/Sat)
9PM & 10:30PM 

THE JAZZ GALLERY
290 Hudson Street (NYC)

STEVE LEHMAN TRIO w/Special Guests
Steve Lehman — Alto Saxophone
Matt Brewer — Double Bass
Damion Reid — Drum Set
David Virelles — Piano (June 7)
Vijay Iyer — Piano (June 8)
James Hurt —  Piano (June 9)

VIDEO PREVIEW FOR DIALECT FLUORESCENT

NPR MUSIC — FEATURED SESSION: THE STEVE LEHMAN TRIO

GEORGE GRELLA’S ESSAY ON JAZZ COMPOSITION AND REVIEW OF DIALECT FLUORESCENT 

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2 Responses to STEVE LEHMAN:
In the Tradition

  1. gazzelloni is amazing!

  2. Second that! His working trio is great, but him, Hebert and Waits? That’s just WRONG

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