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The End of Fear by Tarbaby

Exploring odd-meters, swirling melodic themes and rhythmically-charged free-form improvisations, the New York-based collective Tarbaby delivers an intriguing set of swing-based jazz with The End of Fear. Along with core members Orrin Evans on piano, bassist Eric Revis and Nasheet Watts on drums, the twelve-track set features the trumpeter Nicholas Payton and saxophonists Oliver Lake and JD Allen.

The use of speech sound bites cleverly enhances shorter, open-ended pieces such as "E-Math" and "Heads." Such extra-musical add-ons can easily diminish the intent of spontaneous deposition. Fortunately, the overdubs here are used sparingly.

Lake, a legendary figure in avant jazz, perhaps best known for his work with the World Saxophone Quartet, performs with uncompromised creativity on Sam River's "Unity," Andrew Hill's "Tough Love" and his own composition "November '80." The alto saxophonist soars with a hard-edged, seasoned lyricism (at times lacking in the bold, over-exuberance of Payton's trumpet).

For all the spirited blowing from the guest soloists, it is the tunes with trio only that stand out as compelling. The supple, unhurried camaraderie between Evans, Revis and Waits on the Monk-inspired "Brews," "Jena 6" and "Abacus" has an enticing allure.

The End of Fear is a strong, well-conceptualized release. A disc well worth repeated listening.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Tarbaby
  • CD Title: The End of Fear
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2010
  • Record Label: Posi-Tone
  • Rating: Four Stars
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