Life Forum

Life Forum

Pianist Gerald Clayton’s third solo album, Life Forum, finds an artist continuing to stretch out. On 2011’s Bond: The Paris Sessions, Clayton led a trio (bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown) through a set of covers and originals. Here he fronts a larger band that includes Sanders and Brown, and Clayton composes all of the music. The opener, “A Life Forum,” features writer Carl Hancock Rux intoning a poem as he’s backed by slowly moving horns and wordless vocals from Gretchen Parlato. During one stretch of “Future Reflection,” the horns and vocals drop out, and Clayton, Sanders, and Brown show just how good of a trio they are. “Some Always” brings to mind Miles Davis circa In a Silent Way: check out the subtle organ. “Like Water,” with a fine alto sax solo by Logan Richardson, hints at classical music. One of the best tracks is “When an Angel Sheds a Feather,” which has lyrics by singer Sachal Vasandani. Parlato and Vasandani’s vocals wrap themselves around each other in gorgeous and sensuous ways.

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