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Eric Revis - In Memory of Things Yet Seen (Clean Feed)

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It still takes some time for this album to come out (march 25th), but I can't wait for it to arrive. This album really has a stellar line up I think!

Eric Revis must be one of my biggest discoveries last year. I played both his Parallax and City of Asylum albums to death, and I also love his more "straight foreward" work with the likes of Orrin Evans and others.

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"Bassist Eric Revis is looking back to a time when jazz musicians looked forward with his new CD, In Memory of Things Yet Seen, to be released March 25 on Clean Feed Records. Following on the heels of last year's City of Asylum with pianist Kris Davis and drummer Andrew Cyrille (which made Nate Chinen's top 10 list for theNew York Times), Revis drew inspiration from such visionaries as Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra in putting together his new band. For those artists, such album titles as The Shape of Jazz to Come and Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow were nearly a call to action. Four decades later, Revis evokes not only those past masters rallying album names but their concern for pushing the music forward.

“The way the band is shaping up, there's much reverence for tradition and the tradition of taking things forward,” Revis says. “I really like the fact that they are all such well-rounded players. Right now, there are very few bands that are really doing the 'back to the future' thing.”

Revis has the credentials to talk tradition. He came up with the Betty Carter Quartet in the '90s and has been Branford Marsalis's man on bass since 1997. More recently he's been heard alongside heavy hitting horn players like Peter Brötzmann and Ken Vandermark. The two saxophonists Revis brought in for his new quartet, Darius Jones andBill McHenry, follow in that open-throttle tradition. And adding to the sax complement, Marsalis himself shows up on two of the tracks.

“Branford was like, 'Man, I'm coming into town, am I playing on your record?” “Of course you are” Revis recalled with a laugh. “He was coming back from Japan and he stayed over a couple days and we just did it.”

Having Marsalis on-board only added to the sound for which Revis was looking. Propelled by Chad Taylor's vibes and drums, a group has a voice reminiscent of Coleman's pianoless quartets (especially the Dewey Redman / Jimmy Garrison / Elvin Jones band of the late '60s) and bassist Dave Holland's early '70s Conference of the Birds band, with Anthony Braxton, Sam Rivers and Barry Altschul, a band which also forewent the pianist.

“All of my projects have featured piano,” he says. “I've always wanted to do something with an amalgam of four voices. And a lot of it is composed. There's just two, “Hits” and “FreeB” that are improv.”

The album includes a nod to that past master of futurism with a spirited take on Sun Ra's “Shadow World.” But it's Revis's compositions that sell the band. His “The Tulpa Chronicles” - spread across the album in three parts – is a beautifully metered suite for each of the instrumental voices. “Somethin's Cookin” could be seen as a love letter to Coleman's New York is Now. The intriguingly titled “Unknown” opens as an upbeat hard bop and progresses by pushing at its own edges. “3 Voices” is a ballad wonderfully crafted out of unison and sparsity. And whatever image the title “Hold My Snowcone” conjures, it probably wouldn't match the slow burn of the track.

The group will be touring France, Spain, Austria and Belgium in March, and Revis is looking forward to continuing on with the lineup long after that.

“We've all played together in different contexts,” Revis says. “I have full intentions of going back and forth between this and the trio.” In Memory of Things Yet Seen is, he promises, is “an initial foray into what will be a unique band sound.”

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Thanks for posting. I'm definitely interested in this. I actually found it quite hard to connect with the Parallax album on clean feed, although everything is in it's right place; there's something there and i keep coming back to it. Split in particular is a standout track. I think i need to hear more Revis to put Parallax in to context. The trio album with Kris Davis is getting more and more appealing to me but although i usually have really broad tastes i'm just not digging that style of piano or piano trio at the moment (belatedly digging in to fifties hard bop pianists and loving it)... although i must say i really dig the shades of Tyner/Corea/Hancock that she filters through her own style on Matt Bauder's Nightshades.

I'm about due for some new Darius Jones too which is a bonus.

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That does look like a good one.

FWIW, I'm fine with Parallax & Kris Davis.

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I'm thinking JSngry should be bringing a lawsuit for IP infringement over the title. ;)

Edited by Scott Dolan

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Glad to see Darius having success!

Edited by .:.impossible

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Would love hearing this, too. Eric Revis has always been a player I've dug, haven't heard those leader records, but he has a very wide taste. I love his tune "Black Elk Speaks" from Branford's "Braggtown".

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Thanks for posting that... i only skimmed through the tracks but it sounds really good; i'll be getting this. Jones and McHenry combine very nicely.

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My copy finally arrived yesterday, and it's as good as I hoped it to be! It's always hard to tell after only one good listen, but I think this is my favorite Eric Revis album yet. More composed than his Paralax and City of Assylum albums, this album just bursts with energy and joy. And as Xybert also said, the Darius Jones/Bill McHenry tandem is really great.

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Mine arrived from Squidco.

Sounds good on 1st listen.

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