Craig Taborn Trio
with Tomeka Reid & Ches Smith
Reframing jazz as a primed canvas stretched between electronic texture and open-ended contemporary composition, Minneapolis’s Craig Taborn is renowned for his ability to wring the most emotion and intelligence from the fewest notes on the piano and the Moog synthesizer, even when he is playing one with each hand.
Taborn is equally an impeccable composer and a daring improviser whose “playing inspires something rare in music today, a sense of wonder,” said The New York Times Magazine in a rare profile of a musician usually wreathed in humble privacy. “Taborn is revered by other pianists and considered by many to be one of jazz music’s few contemporary innovators.” Though he has appeared on more than a dozen albums as a leader or coleader, that number shrinks next to more than one hundred as a sideman. He’s sought for his ability to all but vanish into a group while enriching it with vital nutrients, but his own albums can’t help but stand out. Avenging Angel, Taborn’s 2011 ECM debut, is a scintillating improvised wonder that was greeted by critics as an instant landmark in solo piano music. Other albums found him alchemizing with the likes of Tyshawn Sorey, Kris Davis, Ikue Mori, Vijay Iyer, and members of The Bad Plus.
At Big Ears, Taborn is joined by Tomeka Reid, a Chicago-based bandleader and player who makes the cello seem so natural in jazz, and Ches Smith—a drummer and trusted collaborator who headlines elsewhere in the festival—for a groove-oriented set of unguessable possibilities.