Artificial Light

COMPOSERS: Steve Lehman
LABELS: Fresh Sound New Talent
PERFORMER: Steve Lehman Quintet
CATALOGUE NO: FSNT 186

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Dumping the piano is one option; bringing in a chordal instrument such as the guitar is another. Steve Lehman decided to use Chris Dingman’s vibes as an alternative to the keyboard for Artificial Light, which has his own alto sax out front with Mark Shim’s tenor for company.

With Drew Gress on bass and Eric McPherson on drums, the quintet has a surprisingly rich collective timbre, the vibes’ overtones soaking through the rest of the music. Lehman’s tunes can be cryptic, although he’s not shy of introducing a ballad line of spare elegance such as ‘Estelle Teams’.

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It’s good to hear more of Mark Shim, too: scandalous that this powerful and original saxophonist was dropped by Blue Note after just one outstanding record.