Victor Lewis: Know It Today, Know It Tomorrow

The drummer's 1992 date features bop stalwart Eddie Henderson as well as rising stars Seamus Blake and Christian McBride

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Drummer Victor Lewis’s 1992 quintet was notable for introducing tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, helping bring bassist Christian McBride and pianist Ed Simon further to the fore, and demonstrating the leader’s talents as a composer of tunes admirably tailored to how members of the band responded to one another, not least to himself in underpinning and defining shape and trajectory.

Know It Today, Know It Tomorrow was recorded over 30 years ago and is among the latest of the 266 albums so far reissued by the the Italian Crespuscule/Red Records company, whose favourites have included Cedar Walton, Bobby Watson, Steve Grossman, Dave Liebman and Jerry Bergonzi.

Lewis wrote six of the album’s nine quality charts and demonstrates in all particulars that he knew which of the younger generation could keep making the case for late post-bop exuberance. One of many stand-out episodes is a Lewis ballad, The Loss Of A Moment, that features Blake in a wonderful rainy-day meditation; it’s as perfect an example of homage to, and invigoration of, a style as one could want. Lewis gives him the space to expand and must have been pleased with the bonus of having Simon catch Blake’s inspired nonchalance.

From Lewis’s generation, to add stature and example, comes Eddie Henderson on trumpet and flugelhorn, a former member of Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi and afterwards an electro-fusion specialist. Henderson and Blake head out rip-roaringly on Hey, It’s Me You’re Talkin’ To before Blake slithers away to some purpose, with Henderson in sprinting pursuit and Lewis frothing alongside them.

Blake and McBride deliver the head in Lewis’s For Those Who Didn’t Know and round things off with a sax/bass coda, before which Blake keeps on giving, McBride despatches an imposing solo, and Simon’s master comping proves not the least element of his assertive persona. There’s a late fusillade by Lewis on Dave Stryker’s Swamp Dog after Blake has led the way on a productively foraging journey and added decorative value in passing.

Like Art Blakey in the various Jazz Messengers, Lewis is integral to what’s going on and both inspiring and inspired.

Discography
Know It Today, Know It Tomorrow; Hey, It’s Me You’re Talkin’ To; The Loss Of A Moment; Swamp Dog; For Those Who Didn’t Know; The Truce; Gotta Start Somewhere; Between Two Worlds; If You Only Knew Me (56.32)
Lewis (d); Seamus Blake (ts); Eddie Henderson (t, flh); Eduardo Simon (p); Christian McBride (b). New York, 3 April 1992.
Crepuscule/Red Records RR123255-2