“Sing Me Some Cry” Reviewed In New York City Jazz Record
Bassist Eric Revis shuttles between mainstream jazz and avant garde experimentation with ease and grace. He’s been part of saxophonist Branford Marsalis’ group for 20 years, works regularly with pianist Orrin Evans and is a sought-after sideman. At the same time, he leads experimental albums for Clean Feed. To date, these have included 2012’s Parallax, a quartet session with saxophonist Ken Vandermark, pianist Jason Moran and drummer Nasheet Waits; two trio discs, 2013’s City of Refuge and 2016’s
Crowded Solitudes, featuring pianist Kris Davis and, respectively, drummers Andrew Cyrille and Gerald Cleaver; and 2014’s In Memory of Things Yet Seen, with saxophonists Darius Jones, Bill McHenry and Marsalis and drummer Chad Taylor.
Sing Me Some Cry draws from this same pool of players, bringing together Vandermark, Davis and Taylor for a set of nine pieces that have a fierce energy but also exhibit restraint and calculation. Taylor’s long partnership with cornet player Rob Mazurek in various Chicago Underground projects seems like a powerful influence on his work here; on “Solstice…the Girls (for Max & Xixi)”, his slow, throbbing rhythm is decorated with tiny ripples from what could just as easily be a mbira as a piano and Vandermark’s clarinet is patient and minimal, a murmuring presence. The opening title piece, on the other hand, begins with taped voices played backward over a calling-to-order solo from Revis and a ritualistic shaking of beads; the cymbals are ominous, piano haunted, saxophone sputters and erupts in
Braxton-ian squawks and squiggles. While never rocketing into free blare, the music feels like it could at
any moment and the ghostly voices, which return at the end, are eerie. It brings listeners to full attention, saying in effect: Get ready. You don’t know what’s coming. Pieces like “Rumples” and “Drunkard’s Lullaby”, are more conventional, even bluesy, but the feeling of exploration and curiosity remains. Revis has never been interested in finding a creative comfort zone and Clean Feed is to be lauded for giving him space to roam.
— Phil Freeman, August 2017 New York City Jazz Record