Adam Lane – Buffalo (CIMP)
Magnus Broo / Adam Lane / Paal Nilssen-Love / Ken Vandermark – 4 Corners (CF 076)
These two recent releases prove, if further proof was needed, that Adam Lane is an original voice of which all bass enthusiasts should take note. His sense of groove is matched by his love of mode and penchant for stabbing at the dissonances just beyond.
The Buffalo set, a live date before a small but appreciative audience in that upstate New York burg, might have degenerated into a New Thing blowing session were it not for drummer Vijay Anderson’s affinity for shifting pulse. He switches it up several times throughout the first track, as we hear “Spin” being born out of collective listening. Sliding back and forth between swing and freedom, the quartet benefits from Lane’s solid guidance. Let no misconceptions abound though—he is no stranger to rhapsody, as the scorching but somehow meditative solo that opens “Without Being” makes plain. Saxophonist Vinny Golia and trumpeter Paul Smoker complement the rhythm section beautifully and if things are a bit loose throughout, the constant energy and invention keep things moving.
4 Corners, also recorded in performance but this time in Portugal, is an altogether tighter and harder-edged affair. This version of “Spin” broils and churns, thanks to Lane’s distortion pedal, but never looses a certain playfulness; Saxophonist and nominal co-leader Ken Vandermark bobs and weaves with sympathetic and airtight staccatos, no doubt due to his long experience with metrically-varied composition. When the groove dies down, there is room for wonderful duets between the extremely versatile drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and trumpeter Magnus Broo, the former able to change colors at the drop of the proverbial hat. The solos, largely of the “free” variety, never feel forced amidst the more rigorously composed passages—contributed almost equally by Lane and Vandermark—that pervade the energetic set.
Ranging from cool to red hot, these discs capture Lane and his fine work in the multiple roles of leader, soloist and composer. The jagged beauty of his compositions speaks to his knowledge of tradition and willingness to extend it.