Gerald Cleaver: drums, compositions
William Parker: bass, compositions
Craig Taborn: piano, compositions
All compositions by Gerald Cleaver, William Parker, Craig Taborn
Recorded on June 24, 2010 at Scrootabe Labs, Brooklyn
Coltrane’s classic quartet’s rhythm section played ‘around’ pulse, creating a unique kind of swing. Farmers by Nature (FBN) bring it to the next level. Some groups ride the pulse, hanging off the back or propelling it like a rocket. FBN floats over it, skirts it, brings it in and out of hazy focus. There’s no empty virtuosity on this second effort, but does it ever groove!
Pianist Craig Taborn, bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver are masters of rhythmic intrigue, of those subtle gradations of pulse and time out of which the best music is hewn. FBN’s chemistryis evident from the first notes of the peaceful and wistful “For Fred Anderson”, the late tenor saxophonist to whom the entire album is also dedicated. As wonderful and haunting as that spacious tribute is, it’s only a prelude for the disc’s epic, “Tait’s Traced Traits”. It would be folly to attempt a description of how this 18-minute study in controlled freedom flows so organically from first to last. The title rolls off the tongue with the alliterative beauty of the track’s recurrent synchronicities. Beyond these, Cleaver and Parker hold the proceedings in a loose but firm grip, allowing Taborn the room to dance, with increasing speed, over the nearly-meterless shards and fragments they continually reassemble.
Then there are the melodies. They twist, turn, turn back again, writhe and shift places in glorious counterpoint. If it isn’t Parker and Taborn creating these interweavings, Cleaver’s well-tuned percussion (some of it possibly overdubbed?) is providing the melody. Listen to his malletted ostinato opening the final track “Mud, Mapped”; check out the luminous rolled chords Taborn interjects, Parker’s razor-sharp arco swells adding light to the darker textures and you have one of the disc’s finest moments.
—Marc Medwin, The New York City Jazz Record
“This studio session pristinely conveys a continuous exchange of ideas that expand through a wide range of dynamics, veering from understated pointillism to raucous expressionism. Their conversational interplay espouses the hushed tones of pellucid key strokes, bowed string harmonics and shimmering cymbal washes as readily as the dense note clusters, thrumming bass drones and roiling trap set palpitations of their more aggressive excursions—often segueing seamlessly between approaches in the same tune.”
—Troy Collins, Point Of Departure
“The three parts are wholly equal...an almost telepathic understanding, promoting exciting seat of the pants navigation and unfettered expression, safe in the knowledge that any unexpected turns will be spiritedly pursued. Their egalitarian outlook ensures ample space for each, arising in unforced natural progressions.”
—John Sharpe, AllAboutJazz.com
“...whenever they put their collective skills together to spontaneously create music, it’s not labor, it’s a conversation at an otherworldly level.”
—S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!
“Like on the previous album, this piano trio again demonstrates that it's one of the best around. The music is intelligent, creative, expressive, incredibly well-paced and precise.”
—Stef Gijssels, Free Jazz
“Creating a developmental arc in a song that is more about understated, incremental movements rather than outright ‘chapter headings’ has been practiced by many in jazz over the years, but it is done with consummate authority here, and the title track is the high point of this extreme attention to detail in the touch of every member of the band. The result is a deeply wistful, bracing musical adventure.”
—Kevin Le Gendre, Jazzwise
Farmers By Nature – drummer Gerald Cleaver, bassist William Parker, and pianist Craig Taborn – a fully-improvising unit, a complete musical collective. Each of these men are highly regarded & admired composers and bandleaders in their own right; their coming together to create new music is always an auspicious and deeply fruitful occasion. Superbly attuned listeners and masterful players of their respective instruments, they are without question one of the finest improvising units / musical groups in the world today.
Out of This World's Distortions manifests some of the winsome beauty & powerful, uncorrupted, graceful elegance that arises still, through the horrors that are perpetrated every day by humans against the Earth and one another. FBN create a sonic ecosystem that reflects this magnificence: sowing seeds of sound and bringing them to blossom. Once again they have created an immersive experience yielding awe-inspiring magic.
This album was recorded almost exactly 2 years to the date of their highly acclaimed debut (AUM053) from which they take their group name. The pieces proceed & flow exactly as they were performed in the studio that day (manifest on album!), opening with an exquisite elegy to the late great saxophonist Fred Anderson (who passed the evening before) and closing with an impeccably mesmerizing cosmic pulse piece. The entirety of the album is, simply put, stunning. –SJ
Gerald Cleaver writes:
"Craig, William and I are always seeking a connection to that which is and always has been. It's about being party to an actualization of sorts: bearing witness to certain very specific, essential truths that can be spoken of in an infinite number of ways, and sounded in an amazingly singular way. The music is a telling and a prescription for us and for others."