Deluxe marks bassist Chris Lightcap’s third album as a leader. He’s well-travelled and looms as a significant session bassist for a wide scope of progressive-jazz veterans, including drummer Matt Wilson and other luminaries. The artist morphs the title of his 2003 release for the Fresh Sound, New Talent label into the band name, featuring a top-flight sax section, here on this craftily arranged production.
Craig Taborn instills a sense of antiquity into the session via his Wurlitzer piano work. He generates a cunning edge to complement the saxophonists’ appeasing fusion of tranquility, warmth and boisterous improvisational segments. Moreover, Lightcap and estimable drummer Gerald Cleaver lay down the firm grooves, while projecting fluidity during pumped-up backbeats and when supporting the high impact sax choruses.
The band generates blood, sweat, and tears on pieces formed by yearning lines, bluesy phrasings and hardcore progressive-jazz frameworks. Among other positives, the rhythm section provides the underpinning for an explosive sax attack amid rolling and tumbling sequences. On "The Clutch," Lightcap and Cleaver dish out a samba-jazz pulse, accentuated by Taborn’s airy and sparse notes. It’s a calm before the storm approach, topped off with the soloists streaming extended notes within a cyclical groove. They segue into a piece titled "Two-Face," where the saxophonists delve into a free-form extravaganza, spiced with rifling lines and intersecting mini-themes.
Lightcap successfully combines a new wine in old bottles tactic, highlighted by strong material and subliminally stated overtones. His compositions combine rugged aspects with sinuous patterns and an in-the-pocket component that contrasts intermittent and somewhat understated nods to other genres. It all coalesces rather efficiently in concert with a highly-entertaining form factor.