By John Corbett | Published September 2017
Not many folks are as versatile as bassist Eric Revis. He’ll be well known to many as the bassist for Betty Carter in the 1990s, and as a grounding force in the Branford Marsalis Quartet (he was one of the “MFs” on Marsalis’ 2012 disc Four MFs Playin’ Tunes). But his work has extended into all sorts of other places in creative music, building bridges with European improvisers and forming partnerships with inventive Americans, like the superb team on Sing Me Some Cry.
Chicagoan Ken Vandermark is a through line between this and another outstanding Revis quartet, with pianist Jason Moran and drummer Nasheet Waits, documented on Parallax (Clean Feed, 2013). On Sing Me Some Cry, Vandermark sticks to hefty tenor and nimble clarinet, contributing to “Good Company” in what has become a signature melodic style—tough and harmonically open, which makes for great interplay with pianist Kris Davis. She’s been on the short list for the last decade, having added a startling and brilliant new voice to the mix, and here she’s on top of her game, incisive and fearless.
Revis is a strong composer, utilizing some multi-dimensional rhythms that recall Steve Coleman, but with his own episodic and more narrative sensibility. With drummer Chad Taylor’s immensely imaginative playing and catlike ability to move around behind the scenes, Revis, who has recorded four previous albums as a leader, can build energy without bludgeoning. On “Drunkard’s Lullaby,” the band lays into a hard walk, then breaks it up, making the title seem like an apt description.
Sing Me Some Cry: Sing Me Some Cry; Good Company; Pt 44; Solstice ... The Girls (For Max & Xixi); Obliogo; Rye Eclipse; Rumples; Drunkard’s Lullaby; Glyph. (54:10)
Personnel: Eric Revis, bass; Ken Vandermark, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Kris Davis, piano; Chad Taylor, drums.