|Steve Lehman’s first CD for Pi Recordings comes on the heels of a string of successful recordings for the leader in other contexts – though none quite as unique as this one. In early 2005, Lehman put together a quintet of Vijay Iyer, Meshell Ndegocello, Jahi Lake and Eric McPherson to record some modern-sounding electric music, reconfiguring the possibilities of the ‘70s and recent attempts to wed jazz and electronic music. He also recorded duo music with Tyshawn Sorey, backed up by beats he programmed himself. All of this was then molded by Scotty Hard in the studio. The sound is informed by hip-hop, modern electronic, jazz and classical music. It can best be described as cool restraint over an ever-evolving groove made up of Lake’s found sounds, Ndegocello’s vamps, Iyer’s steady harmony, McPherson’s tasteful accents and Lehman’s own inquisitive melodicism. The result is a constantly morphing sound that changes with each listen, the form never resting quite long enough to be captured. The CD in it’s entirety recalls a period when a composer could record an album as diverse as his interests (think Braxton’s New York, Fall 1974 recording), inspiring inquisitive listeners to wonder at the depths of his creativity. It also cements the fact that a new genre of music, which combines jazz and electronic, has fully arrived. What the CD does most effectively, though, is introduce one of today’s most compelling composers. Steve Lehman has opened a world of possibilities with this musical statement.
Features guest artists Meshell Ndegocello and Vijay Iyer. Lehman’s recent releases, including his work with Fieldwork, have received enormous praise from the media. Lehman has performed with Anthony Braxton, William Parker and Dave Burrell.
“The main influences are immediately audible: the headlong bop of Jackie McLean and the sour tonality and extremes of pitch we now automatically associate with Anthony Braxton. It goes further than that, though, and in Steve Lehman…we’ve got one of the most exciting saxophone voices on the current scene.” – The Wire
“The thing with Lehman is you never know when he’s playing the changes and when he’s going outside, because he has the smarts to make the one sound like the other.” – Village Voice
“A young saxophonist who has studied at length with both Jackie McLean and Anthony Braxton – an interesting pair of methodological influences – Mr. Lehman has been composing in both jazz and contemporary classical musical idioms. In New York, he has hooked up with some of the great young musicians around.” – New York Times