Monday, January 4, 2016

Kirk Knuffke - Lamplighter (2015)

"Although Knuffke topped Downbeat’s 2015 Rising Star poll, this will almost certainly be the last time he’ll be described as “new talent”. Since arriving in New York over a decade ago the 35-year-old cornettist has recorded with such luminaries as Butch Morris, Mark Helias and Mary Halvorson, not to mention one of the city’s most happening groups, Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom. With over a dozen pending releases and more than twice that number already under his belt, 2015 looks set to be his breakthrough year. 

At once rooted in tradition and subversively skewed, the somewhat unusual instrumentation of Lamplighter makes a striking and immediate first impression. Neither Wollesen nor Goodwin play with a full kit, their orchestra of small instruments bringing a tremendous unpredictability and richness to Knuffke’s elastic grooves.

Rise opens with a simple pulse from Wollesen’s bass drum, quickly lurching into swing-time as Goodwin’s snare and cymbals animate the leader’s expressionistic half-valve glisses. Takeishi’s rather boxy acoustic bass guitar takes some getting used to, but when the ears adjust his note placements are often little short of sublime (nowhere more so than on the splendidly languid title track). Blanks summons the dancing spirit of Knuffke’s one-time mentor Ornette Coleman, whist Tomorrow And Later rides an almost martial beat redolent of Henry Threadgill’s off-kilter funk. The sheer joy of Knuffke’s solo on Odds is utterly infectious, but its dangerously turbulent undertow is a reminder of a broad musical catholicism.

All in all this is a wonderfully individual set, and if you’re searching for sounds of surprise you’ll find them right here." Fred Grand -Jazz Journal (October, 2015)

01. Rise 3:56
02. Brightness 4:50
03. Lamplighter 4:42
04. Odds 5:16
05. As Always Am 5:46
06. Madeleine 5:45
07. Glows 4:35
08. Smash 3:44
09. Blanks 5:07
10. How Much Money Does It Really Take 4:53
11. Tomorrow And Later 5:56

All compositions by Kirk Knuffke

Kirk Knuffke (cornet)
Stomu Takeishi (accoustic bass guitar)
Kenny Wollesen (bass drum & percussion)
Bill Goodwin (drums & percussion)

Recorded at Systems Two, Brooklyn, New York, on October 16, 2014

Engineered by Mike Marciano

Produced by Kirk Knuffke

Executive producer: Jordi Pujol