Bassist Stephan Crump is probably best known as the third wheel of Vijay Iyer‘s trio. But his recent release, Reclamation, shows that he can shine as a leading man–this time with a trio of a different sort. Featured alongside two guitarists–one electric and one acoustic–he creates a sonic landscape that is deeply indebted to jazz, but stretches out in interesting ways. For a group that lacks a drummer, the band possesses some serious groove; still, the tunes range from the driving force of “Overreach” to the more ambient, introspective “Pernambuco.”
The overriding theme this week–what makes all of this music better, in my opinion, than Highway Rider–is what I perceive as musical honesty. Reclamation projects a powerful sense of Crump’s compositional and improvisational identity. The unique timbre of the bass with electric and acoustic guitar provides a vehicle for vibrant interaction between the three; the absence of a drummer allows for complex rhythmic twists to be executed smoothly.
I found out about this record thanks to meeting Crump–a fellow Amherst College alum–after one of his sets at the Winter JazzFest. It was his recording that inspired me to seek out other new music and write these reviews.
Purchase a copy of the new album here. And hear music from the trio tomorrow (June 1) on The Checkout, or live at the Jazz Gallery this Thursday (June 3). I’ll be there on Thursday, so say hello if you do come by!