Free Jazz with all-interval tetrachords

Steve Lantner QuartetGiven – Live in Münster

hatOLOGY

I’ve long been enamored with pianist Steven Lantner’s playing. His interest in microtones, post-tonal harmony, and injecting swing into a free jazz context put him right up my alley. His current quartet, with saxophonist Allan Chase, bassist Joe Morris, and drummer Luther Gray, contains kindred musical spirits, able to interweave flights of freedom with a disciplined sensibility of interplay.

The second Lantner Quartet CD, Given – Live in Münster, presents a wonderful concert from the 21st International Jazzfest Münster. Like one of my favorite concert music composers, Elliott Carter, Lantner and company currently use the all-interval tetrachord (0146) to circumscribe their harmonic language. This imparts Given with a coherent, piquant sound world amidst its free jazz gestures and open form improvisations.

Chase combines beautiful, floating lines with blustery flurried arpeggiations. Lantner’s soloing has grown as well. He’s masterful at shifting gears; moving from sostenuto chords to postbop swinging lines to Stravinskyian post-tonal fragments on the turn of a dime. Morris and Gray get their solo turns as well, responding with creative, zesty punctuations to the proceedings. Given is a wonderful musical present.

Steve Lantner

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