It’s no surprise Stephan Crump spices his newest release, "Tuckahoe," with layers of multiple genres, given his resume includes stints with such a wide swath of musical performers and styles.
Raised in a musical family, Crump studied classical piano and alto sax before moving to bass. In addition to studying jazz abroad and performing with Marvin Stamm, Jeannie Bryson, Billy Hart and Bobby Previte among others, Crump has cut his teeth on projects far beyond jazz. His resume includes blues projects with Johnny Copeland and Bill Sims, southern soul with Big Ass Truck, and rock with Drivin’ and Cryin’s Kevin Kinney.
Those influences come together on Tuckahoe, and the result is quite good. There are plenty of Latin rhythms, a healthy dose of blues, signs of jam rock and even a pinch of reggae - all melded within a comfortable jazz context. To make it work, Crump surrounds himself with versatile, first-rate sidemen - a lineup that includes Chris Cheek and Miguel Zenon on saxes, guitarist Jamie Fox and drummer Dan Rieser.
But Tuckahoe (named for Crump’s boyhood street name) is clearly Crump’s show, evidenced mostly by his soulful, moving compositions. An accomplished film score composer, Crump takes the listener through a wonderful melodic journey, from the samba-based "Allende," to the provocative, bluesy "Hazy Days."
Other pieces take surprising sojourns: "Here’s a Goodbye" moves from soulful ballad to reggae. "Deluge" warms up with a jaunty Latin rhythm before transforming into a searing rock-based guitar solo and returning again to Latin. "Stolid," inspired by a hot, New York City day, is reminiscent of a bluesy funeral march. The title song also moves in and out of blues and jam rock.
The combination of Crump’s melodic writing and the seamless effort in which his musicians work the material are the factors that shape "Tuckahoe." As a result, they combine to form a very pleasing listen.