Lafayette Gilchrist & the New Volcanoes
Growing up, Baltimore-based pianist Lafayette Gilchrist spent more time listening to funk, hip-hop and go-go than jazz and those musical influences definitely color this CD, his fifth for the label since his debut four years ago. As the pianist in both avant-garde tenor saxophonist David Murray’s Black Saint Quartet and his big band, Gilchrist is no stranger to the energetic musical forms Murray and his like-minded associates favor. He explores much of the same territory here with his octet, the New Volcanoes. Influenced by the music of—among others—Sun Ra’s Arkestra and pianist Andrew Hill, Gilchrist’s band (three saxes, two trumpets, bass and drums) effectively carries out Gilchrist’s designs on six of the disc’s tunes; the seventh, “Uncrowned,” is a pensive solo tribute to Hill. The title track, with its hip-hoppy theme, serves as a template for the rest: the piano begins but is soon swallowed up by the horns, which are nearly overwhelmed by the very active drummer, who keeps the beat way up on top even during the piano interludes that separate the horn solos and ensemble segments. This is definitely not music for the faint of heart!