Lafayette Gilchrist 3

Lafayette Gilchrist 3

Baltimore-based pianist Lafayette Gilchrist might usually be found playing soulful, bread-on-the-table gigs to survive. But on 3, he’s playing some transcendently deep shit. The harmonic acumen of Ran Blake, the angular swing of Andrew Hill, the funk of Joe Sample, the fire of Cecil Taylor — these are points of reference. But Gilchrist is his own man. Like boxer Muhammad Ali, his playing floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. He jabs and stabs with thick chords and pungent bass notes, uppercuts with visceral high register punches. Gilchrist is not content to play within the usual middle/upper register; he uses the whole piano to evocative, dazzling effect. Tunes like "Volcano Red” employ funky chord patterns that let the trio leader tell a story of blues and passion. Drummer Nate Reynolds lays down a powerful groove that’s reminiscent of his tenure with Wilson Pickett. And bassist Anthony "Blue” Jenkins is constantly pushing the band with rubbery, meaty bass lines that are constantly surprising with their inventiveness. This is an album that will appeal to dyed-in-the-wool jazzers and the casual listener with its earthy feel and bluesy lyricism. (Hyena)