I remember lying on a couch in my room in Oakland, sometime in either 1989 or 1990. Afternoon light was pouring in my window and I was in a hypnogogic state, somewhere between waking and dreaming. My mind was occupied with the vision of long and dark brown hands holding what looked to be a piece of blue glass. The agile hands turned the glass over and over again, and with each turning, facets appeared, polished and refracting light. The glass was becoming more and more ornate and I remember thinking that it was "perfecting." Suddenly, I sat bolt upright, realizing that I was having a visual experience of the music I was listening to at the moment: The title track from the recently issued LP by Horace Tapscott
, Dark Tree.
Tapscott was working a theme on the piano, turning it over and over, and every time it came around, there was more
beauty in it. And every time it came around, there was less of anything superfluous. The theme, under his long, dark fingers, was "perfecting."
Released again in 2000 by Swiss Hatology
label on double limited edition CD with its companion volume, Dark Tree 1 & 2
is a document of what I have come to consider one of the most important jazz quartets of all time. Featuring Tapscott on piano, John Carter
on clarinet, Cecil McBee
on contrabass and Andrew Cyrille
on drums, it is a fleeting glimpse into not only a rare recording by this astounding group, but a rare small group recording for Tapscott, altogether.