Eric Revis

CITY OF ASYLUM

The performance to write home about at this year’s Winter Jazzfest was a freely improvised set by the bassist Eric Revis, the pianist Kris Davis and the drummer Andrew Cyrille: musicians of intrepid poise, foraging together in deep communion. “City of Asylum” (Clean Feed) offers a comparable experience. Mr. Revis, who has earned a reputation for hard-swinging brio in the Branford Marsalis Quartet, works here with mystery and indirection. Mr. Cyrille, an avant-garde eminence in his 70s, and Ms. Davis, an ascendant talent in her 30s, explore a language largely defined by common touchstones, like the pianists Cecil Taylor and Andrew Hill.

The album has three proper compositions —  a slinky Revis original (“Question”), a Thelonious Monk tune (“Gallop’s Gallop”) and a hymn by Keith Jarrett (“Prayer”) — but its lifeblood is the uncharted territory, spread across seven tracks that cohere as a whole. What that material reveals is the quality of the listening among the players, an abstract ideal made nearly tangible.

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