.Taylor Haskins

Fuzzy Logic

With musicians like Taylor Haskins, critics and marketing people need to formulate new genre terminology. While jazz trumpeter Haskins has played with post-bop and world-fusion jazz musicians such as Dave Holland, Richard Bona, and Guillermo Klein, Fuzzy Logic, his fourth disc as a leader, could be termed “jazz Americana.” While “Americana” suggests the breadth of American vocal music by artists such as Emmylou Harris, The Jayhawks, and The Band, Haskins’ variation is entirely instrumental but draws upon similar sources. His jazz is informed by the essences of folk balladry and even the classical Americana of composers such as Aaron Copeland, among others.

“Somewhere I’ve Never Traveled” begins with Haskins blowing a high, lonesome, somewhat eerie Native-American drone flute before switching to his main axe, playing a parched lament over a sighing, transparent bed of strings. The pensive “Four Moons” is akin to straight-ahead jazz, post-bop division, with Haskins’ supple-but-sturdy tone and arching, mid-range playing — evoking pre-electric Miles Davis — buttressed by Ben Monder’s crystalline electric guitar, lush strings, and Jeff Hirshfield’s crisp, spare drumming. The lilting “Too Far” could almost be a country ballad by George Jones or Dolly Parton. Meanwhile, Thomas Dolby’s “Airways” gets recast as a classy waltz, with Haskins’ horn elegantly soaring in a way reminiscent of masters such as Clifford Brown and Art Farmer — until Monder tears in, his distorted solo aching with psychedelic-laced sustain.

The set closes with Tom Waits’ “Take It With Me,” and Haskins’ Western-flavored melodica makes it sound a bit like “Moon River.” Simply a gorgeous listen. (Sunnyside)


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