Kalaparush & the Light: Paths of Glory (2004)
Returns to active duty are of special celebratory importance in jazz. Old lions who return from the wilderness to reclaim their place in the pride often enjoy renewed respect from both peers and pupils. What's often not addressed is the amount of effort and risk required to rebound to form. Witness the story of Henry Grimes, who managed to roll back the weight of thirty plus years and resume his career. Kalaparush fits this archetype too. His discography prior to a self-imposed absence is now smaller than the number of dates he's amassed since his return. These later sessions mostly revolve around The Light, a working trio that teams his customarily idiosyncratic tenor with the tuba and drums of two improvisors who could easily be his grandchildren in age.
The trio's previous recordingsfor CIMP, Delmark and Entropy Stereosuggest an ensemble still developing equilibrium. Part of this seems due to the singular personalities of the group, especially Kalaparush. His habit of breaking ranks with his partners and following introspective improvisatory paths can often lead to a crisis of trajectory. My initial exposure to this proclivity led me to question its intentionality versus some deficiency in the saxophonist's technique. I'm now firmly convinced that it's a function of the former. Momin's eccentric style of drumming is another factor that undermines predictability and Dulman's tuba is an unconventional voice in and of itself. These three players sometimes craft music that's few in congruous elements.
Given the presiding climate, the introduction of another self-assertive temperament to the mix might seem a scenario for calamity. Remarkably, the presence of Adam Lane on this latest outing has a converse effect. His robust bass routinely serves as harmonic glue that binds the nucleal trio together in ways they haven't achieved previously. Lane has a similar calming affect on Kalaparush on the opening duet "Dream Of...", where his pizzicato, and later arco lines rein in the saxophonist's wanderlust. The thoughtful conversation that ensues exudes easy chemistry. It's a frank and communicative feat they repeat on the closing "Confirmation."
The whirring harmonics that initiate "Dance" set another effective stage, opening into a loping nuanced rhythm and some emotionally stirring harmonies from Kalaparush and Dulman. If anything, Lane's presence seems to diminish each of the three other players' desire to rush things. There's a gradual, even methodical air to the music that allows each man to focus intently on his contributions to the whole. Minor intonation problems occasionally arise and there are pieces like the meandering "Suite For My Mother" that buckle under overly prolix exposition, but the music remains startlingly on track for the majority of its duration. The extra wattage on hand for this version of The Light, suggests that Kalaparush should strongly consider offering Lane a more permanent place in the organization. The bassist's own prolific activities probably preclude such a billet, but at least this solitary meeting exists as a template for future refinements to Kalaparush's still-evolving music.
Visit CIMP on the web.
Track Listing: Dream Of.../ Dance/ Date/ Suite for My Mother/ Five #2/ Five #1/ Let Us All Relax/ Confirmation.
Personnel: Kalaparush Maurice McIntyre- tenor saxophone; Adam Lane- bass; Jesse Dulman- tuba; Ravish Momin- drums. Recorded: March 4 & 5, 2004, Rossie, NY.