Tarbaby

The End of Fear

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AllMusic Review by

In 2010 Posi-Tone Records came out with The End of Fear, an excitingly diverse jazz album by a sextet calling itself Tarbaby. With Nicholas Payton, Oliver Lake, and J.D. Allen brandishing their horns in front, this exceptional unit touches upon a moving range of artistic taproots and human emotions. In addition to originals by pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Nasheet Waits, the band offers up beautifully conceived interpretations of works by modern musical heroes Sam Rivers, Paul Motian, and Andrew Hill. "Sailin' On," which lasts only a little over a minute, traces back to legendary ‘80s hardcore punk rockers Bad Brains, while two brief and collectively cranked episodes ("Heads" and "Tails") are credited to Tarbaby itself. Perhaps the most thrilling surprise in this set is a sensitively intimate rendition of "Lonesome Me," written by Fats Waller and recorded by him on August 7, 1939. The treatment conjured by Tarbaby more than 70 years later has all the temperance and bearing of a Coltrane ballad from that saxophonist's late-'50s Prestige period. The variety of textures, tempos, moods, and visions in this one album represents everything that makes jazz meaningful, relevant, and impossible to contain or subdue. This is an entirely different Tarbaby from the early-'70s Florida Panhandle jam band of the same name. People who are capable of grooving in more than one genre really ought to consider checking in with both ensembles, because each Tarbaby really delivers and makes no concessions.

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