The new third ECM album by Craig Taborn contains anything but easily to digest or even to enjoy by the way modern and free jazz. Rather, Daylight Ghosts is at least at the first encounter nothing less than a challenge to deal more intensively with the jazz world of Craig Taborn to gain access to it. As an introduction, the slower tracks, such as the title track, are recommended, which in fact, like the faster tracks, include an incredible variety of shortly marked out, immediately strongly improvised melodies, which however thanks to their calmer character do not test the lister’s tolerance too much caused by the mood swing connected to the diversity of melodies and improvisations. If, then, the breathtaking forward pressing dominating the faster titles is added, as for example at the beginning of the album in "The Shining One", this may well be bordering on the patience of the listener at the first encounter. One should devote oneself patiently to this partly breathless jazz, and, instead of making snap judgements about this jazz, one should let the language spoken in this jazz world take effect on oneself, as was said choose the entry into this world over the slower tracks of the album. The effort is worthwhile, at the latest, when the alleged language confusion dissolves into language diversity, which is may be somewhat strange at the beginning but which will turn out to be increasingly intelligible. Then one is in a position to relaxedly follow the imaginative and colorful contributions of the quartet which includes in addition to Craig Taborn at the keyboards and the piano, Chris Speed, tenor saxophone and clarinet, Chris Lightcap, bass, each one from the New York jazz scene, and Dave King, who is known from his participation on the trio The Bad Plus, at the drums.
Saxophone and piano riffs develop independently of each other and run apart diametrically, to overlap occasionally. The rhythm remains stable for a long time to kick up suddenly, giving the signal for the piano and the saxophone to follow up franticly. In the end, the fast pulse breaks, and the bass takes over the role of the saxophone until, together with the piano, driven by the drumming, the story of "Abandoned Reminder „suddenly ends in the vacuum. The "Great Silence” commences with a sonorously savored clarinet narrative, punctually assisted by the piano, cautiously commented by the drums, the only completely developed, varied and improvised melody of the entire album. On "Ancient" the bass lures rhythmically plucked first completely solo, until the piano is touched and reacts with singly in the room standing tones, which are taken by the saxophone as an occasion to give its comment in detail, which in turn motivates the piano to more vitality, finally taken over all instruments, including the drums. The whole thing, then runs increasingly entangled, thereafter rushing rhythmically in the almost annoying ostinato to its abrupt end. The last title, "Phantom Ratio", proves to be an infinite, sad exhortation of the saxophone, floating to the end based on a gaily turned out drum drumming rhythm like the echo-assisted calling of an alphorn in an increasingly chaotic environment to fade away in nowhere.
With Daylight Ghosts, ECM remains loyal to its line established in the seventies, to primarily present off the mainstream jazz, pointing into the future, thereby extending the horizons of the listeners and not least the jazz musicians’ diversity of expression, and which, as experience shows, not seldom becomes classic status. The fact that the recording technology is in the best hands under the supervision of the label’s owner Manfred Eicher is a matter of honor for ECM and easily comprehensible in the form of the high-resolution download for everyone.
Craig Taborn, piano, electronics
Chris Speed, tenor saxophone, clarinet
Chris Lightcap, bass
Dave King, drums