Taborn was a wonder all night, conjuring equal parts bebop and the harmonically unhinged gossamer chords of classical modernism. Formanek alternated drones, thick melodic counterpoint, and nimble patterns that leapt registers, and he even beat a bit of percussion with the back of the bow against his strings. The pieces’ dynamic and thematic shifts seemed to grow organically out of the improvisations but could just as easily have been cued by one band member or another as, presto!, the original theme would re-emerge. And throughout the night, relationship of solo and accompaniment — mark to ground, if you will — was pleasingly ambiguous.

There were lovely quiet moments, but perhaps the most exhilarating piece was the second, “Rising Tensions and Awesome Light,” which was also the longest, at about 13 minutes. Here the carefully arranged compositional devices eventually gave way to full-on freedom, everyone in the band cutting loose simultaneously, Berne digging into his most ecstatic overblown shrieks. But you never lost the sense that this band always knew full well where they were going, and how they were going to get home.

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  Topics: Jazz , Craig Taborn, Tim Berne, regattabar,  More more >
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