Deluxe (Clean Feed)

Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth

Released April 2, 2010

NPR Top 10 Jazz Albums Of 2010




Featuring the formidable line-up of Tony Malaby and Chris Cheek on tenor saxophones, Andrew D’Angelo on alto saxophone, Craig Taborn on keyboards and Gerald Cleaver on drums, Deluxe is bassist Chris Lightcap’s highly anticipated follow up to his critically acclaimed quartet albums.

After establishing his career as a bassist with a wide range of improvisers like Joe Morris, Regina Carter, Mark Turner, Rob Brown, and Matt Wilson, Lightcap began developing music for his own groups in the late 90s. Lay-Up(2000) and Bigmouth (2003) were on many top 10 jazz radio lists and received critical praise in the New York Times, Jazztimes and Allaboutjazz. In 2005 he named the band Bigmouth and added Taborn to the group. After playing a series of jaw-dropping sold out shows in New York City over the next few years, the group went into Brooklyn Recording to record Deluxe, featuring eight of Lightcap’s originals. The group has a symbiotic rapport born out of many years of collaboration in each other’s bands and as cosidemen. Malaby and Cleaver have worked with Lightcap since his earliest bandleader performances and Lightcap and Cleaver also played on Taborn’s stunning 2001 release, Light Made Lighter. Malaby and Cheek have
worked together for years in the Bands of Paul Motian and Charlie Haden. Lightcap’s original compositions run the gamut from sonic experimentation to old-school rock and pop influences. These tunes are brought to life with incomparable beauty and passion by the group’s improvisational prowess.

Track Listing:

1. Platform (Chris Lightcap) 08:29

2. Silvertone (Chris Lightcap) 09:56

3. Ting (Chris Lightcap) 07:08

4. Year of the Rooster (Chris Lightcap) 05:44

5. The Clutch (Chris Lightcap) 06:29

6. Two-Face (Chris Lightcap) 06:19

7. Deluxe Version (Chris Lightcap) 08:01

8. Fuzz (Chris Lightcap) 04:19


Chris Lightcap: double bass

Chris Cheek: tenor saxophone

Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone

Craig Taborn: piano, Wurlitzer electronic piano

Gerald Cleaver: drums

Andrew D’Angelo: alto saxophone (2, 3, 8)

Recorded October 8 – 9, 2008, Brooklyn Recording, NY

Producer: Chris Lightcap

Engineer: Ben Liscio

Mixing: Jamie Saft

Mastering: Tom Hutten


Bassist Chris Lightcap released a CD called Bigmouth on Fresh Sound-New Talent in 2003, featuring a quartet with drummer Gerald Cleaver and the unusual frontline of two tenor saxophonists, Tony Malaby and Bill McHenry. Seven years later, Lightcap returns to the concept, with “Bigmouth” now the name of the band rather than the CD. In the intervening period, the band and the concept have evolved considerably. Cleaver and Malaby are still present, but the second tenor saxophonist is now Chris Cheek, while Craig Taborn is playing piano, both in its acoustic form and a Wurlitzer electric. Alto saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo appears on three of Lightcap’s eight compositions here.
As might be expected from the frontline, it’s a band of real power, but there are other dimensions as well. Lightcap works from a broad compositional palette, developing strong grooves with Cleaver that emphasize the R&B affinities of the two tenors, as well as a strong Latin feel. The scintillating “Ting” has a Mexican vibe and there are lovely liquid ballads as well. There’s a preference for consonant harmonies here that’s furthered by the majesty of the two tenors, Cheek usually the smoother sound of the two, Malaby using more vocal inflections. Their dovetailing lines, cascading over Lightcap’s bass ostinatos, are the essential component of the developing dialogue of “Clutch” or “Two-Face.”

Taborn’s Wurlitzer piano adds a special ambience, an unexpected period sound that seems to emphasize the Southwest. D’Angelo’s alto is an effective contrast to the weightier tenors, adding a clarion edge to the ballad “Silvertone” and spiraling, celebratory lines to “Ting.” Bigmouth is a special band, demarcating its own territory, filled with surprisingly open spaces.

Stuart Broomer (All That Jazz)