ejazz news review by Glenn Astarita

Steve Lehman Quartet – Manifold (CF 097)
Saxophonist/composer and “idea-man” extraordinaire Steve Lehman’s youthful vigor and intense musical methodologies are highlighted on this CD which was recorded live in 2007 as part of the Jazz ao Centro Festival in Coimbra, Portugal. Once again, trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson proves to be a strong foil for the leader’s complex metrics, honed-down by the crack rhythm section of bassist John Hebert and drummer Nasheet Waits. Perhaps deriving from his M-Base influences, engineered upon snappy off-beat funk pulses, Lehman elevates the overall muse with dashing lines and interlinking soundscapes.

With shifting themes, the soloists touch upon avant, free-bop and modern mainstream and at times go for broke via blitzing 8th note unison choruses. Bustling with variable pulses and sonorous melodies, the quartet occasionally tempers the torrid flows with a warm gait, but often engage in gradually ascending frameworks. Fiery and scrappy, there are no train wrecks amid the buzz-saw like attacks and blazing finales. In sum, Lehman’s mind-bending artistry has landed him among the elite of modern jazz practitioners who strive to make a difference within the sometimes complacent global jazz arena.

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