June Holiday (w/ Jim Baker & John Tate)
Charles Rumback divides his time between the jazz world and buddying up with folk/indie artists where he swirls colours and daubs at canvases with all of his jazz training and instincts. He’s regularly working with guitarist Ryley Walker, most recently they put out a lovely duo record which is regularly on my stereo.
But when not on the road with another artist he’s exploring sound with his own trio – or in one of a few other configurations. He’s a composer too. And you hear that in his playing. Most particularly in his use of space. And then the colouring. He’s using a different set of brushes from most painters, but that’s his approach as he flicks textures across toms, as he splatter-paints the cymbals, peppers the snare with accents.
This new trio record features bassist John Tate and improvising pianist Jim Baker. It’s a beautiful, exploratory stroll through moods. Baker contributes three of the pieces here but Rumback is the chief composer. He’s also the guy controlling the traffic. His cymbals swing and sway, his bass drum darts in and around the flurries from the keys.
Opener, Foglights, features Tate’s softly moaning bass and a near samba pattern on the snare from Rumback. Both of them dancing around in the spaces on the edges of Baker’s lovely piano melody.
But second track, Burning Daylight, is the real tone-setter for this album. Rumback is in full rolling, tumbling Elvin Jones mode and Baker’s piano takes on the role and tone and feel of some of Coltrane’s classic quartet work. Not sounding at all like McCoy Tyner by the way, but sounding like Coltrane at the piano.
Another of Rumback’s obvious heroes is Paul Motian – and his tight but loose way of letting out seemingly too much rope then guiding it all back in seems to come directly from a close listening to Motian, perhaps most obviously his work with pianists Marilyn Crispell, Paul Bley and Keith Jarrett.
Across the seven sprawling tunes here (most between five and nine minutes) the band provides a great duck and weave through ballad feels and darker, more intense passages. But it never gets too heavy. This is lovely, contemplative stuff. It’s been one of my favourite to play over and again this year.
So hugely recommended. Gorgeous interplay.
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