The New York Jazz Record on Tarbaby

The ‘expandable’ unit Tarbaby, cooperatively led by pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Nasheet Waits, has existed in various incarnations with several different frontlines, but none more worthy of its defiant name than the raucous unit featuring fiery alto saxophonist Oliver Lake and French avant guitarist Marc Ducret that held forth at Le Poisson Rouge (Sep. 11th). Playing music from a forthcoming album dedicated to the revolutionary philosopher Frantz Fanon, the band opened the set with Revis’ “Black Skins, White Masks”, an episodic journey that started off with dark rumbling solo piano chords, evolving into a sonic tapestry of ethereal space guitar and other worldly saxophone squeals over impressionistic rhythms that soon segued into a funky beat backing freebopping solos. Lake’s “Fanon” opened with a solemn classically-influenced, gospel- tinged piano introduction, setting the tone for the composer’s impassioned voicelike solo. Revis’ “O” was a tour de force outing with powerful solos punctuated by surprising vocal outbursts of “Oh!” by the band, delighting the enthusiastic house. A solo bass interlude began Ducret’s “Blues D’Omera”, a commanding yet subtle guitar-propelled outer space exploration, Lake blowing soft alto overtones and Evans drawing alien sounds from the inside of the piano over Waits’ masterful brushwork. The band ended the set with a rocking all-out five man musical assault on Don Cherry’s “Awake Nu”. – Russ Musto

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