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N.Y. Times finds "a sly urgency in Jack DeJohnette’s backbeat"

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Thursday May 05, 2016

From The New York Times
By Nate Chinen

Jack DeJohnette Ravi Coltrane Matthew Garrison – In Movement

There’s a sly urgency in Jack DeJohnette’s backbeat, which combines a strong forward pull with something cagey and equivocal. That rhythmic signature is crucial to the feel of some Miles Davis albums from the early 1970s and a range of other music since. The latest example is “In Movement,” the debut ECM release by an exploratory trio with Mr. DeJohnette on drums and piano, Ravi Coltrane on saxophones and Matthew Garrison on electronics and bass guitar.

Mr. DeJohnette, 73, has known the other members of this group since they were children, by way of their fathers, the saxophonist John Coltrane and the bassist Jimmy Garrison (who played in Coltrane’s quartet). That lineage provides a strong background hum for the trio, informing its repertory even without the obligations of a formal tribute.

The album opens with “Alabama,” John Coltrane’s mournful hymn, and later hits peak intensity with “Rashied,” a tribute to his last drummer, Rashied Ali. (A roiling, spontaneous duo for drums and sopranino saxophone, that track feels revelatory and ablaze.) There are slow, pensive offerings like “Blue in Green,” from a Miles Davis album on which John Coltrane appeared.

But the story here more often involves an elliptically assertive groove. On the title track, a group improvisation, Mr. Garrison lays a framework of looped chords and effects, over which Ravi Coltrane ventures a soprano saxophone melody, elucidating a song form in real time. It’s an impressive show of collective intuition and no less transfixing than the trio’s intently hazy take on “Serpentine Fire,” the Earth, Wind & Fire staple, or a sinewy original titled “Lydia.”

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