The trio of Gerald Cleaver, William Parker and Craig Taborn might have made a number of different records. Cleaver might have brought his laptop. Parker could have used any number of instruments he plays from around the world. Taborn's synthesizer and Fender Rhodes might have augmented his piano. Alternately, they might have hired a horn player; Roy Campbell or Daniel Carter could have fit easily in with this session, recorded at The Stone in June of 2008. But none of those things happened. Instead they showed up as acoustic rhythm section and played a deceptively understated set.
Initially, in fact, it can sound as if there's something missing. The instruments are balanced evenly in the mix, and it's rare across the hour-long set (a single improvisation divided into six seamless tracks) for any instrument to command more than its share of space. Without the hegemony of the horn, it's easy for the music to slide past the ear. But the disc ripens with a little focus and a few listens. All three players are continually, and gradually, reshaping the sound. Cleaver is, through much of the disc, quick and light, throwing little shapes of rims and clipped cymbals. Taborn states short melody lines, and building them through repetition. Parker lays deep, slow foundations that are almost unnoticed until they disappear in favor of upper register arco. Overall there's a sense, as the title suggests, that they are not so much making the music as nurturing it — watering and pruning the growing sonic organism. The resulting harvest is bountiful.
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