The Music According to Lafayette Gilchrist
February 24, 2009 6:06 PM   Subscribe

Lafayette Gilchrist is one of my favorite piano players. Featured on a Down Beat cover a few months ago (with Vijay Iyer and Jason Moran), he has released a half-dozen or so albums with his group, New Volcanoes, and he's the regular piano player in saxophonist David Murray's quartet. His playing and composition styles are informed by funk, go-go and hip-hop. And he's from Baltimore. Of course, you might also know him from his appearance on the soundtrack to The Wire.
posted by box (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks, box. I enjoyed this.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:19 PM on February 24, 2009

Speaking of The Wire, I can appreciate that they picked a different cover of Way Down in the Hole for each season's title sequence but am I alone in thinking that the original first season version was by far the best version, hands down? I was a little disappointed when s2 came along and it was gone.

I had a very similar reaction to ReGenesis. The title theme for the first two seasons was a thing of beauty. Then they went and remixed it for s3 and s4 and it just didn't have the same pop. I was sad.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:13 AM on February 25, 2009

Hell yeah, now this is how you fuze some shit. Keep in mind that Laf made his name by reaching outside of the regular jazz or funk channels to the baltimore rock scene, playing with the free jazz wannabes from the red room at the Ottobar. Also his records are raw and dirty, in the red like Rare Essence. Good post box!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:03 AM on February 25, 2009

FYI, I believe it was Matthew Shipp on that Downbeat cover, not Lafayette Gilchrist. Not to take anything away from him, he's a very talented pianist.
posted by thedanimal at 7:02 AM on February 25, 2009

I might be misremembering, thedanimal (and Down Beat doesn't have a very good website--get on that, guys), but I think we're both right.
posted by box at 7:46 AM on February 25, 2009

Left to right in that picture: Matt Shipp, Jason Moran, Vijay Iyer.
posted by thedanimal at 9:01 AM on February 25, 2009

The only version of 'Way Down in the Hole' that really bugs me is the fourth-season one. I understand why they used it, but, man, it's just not very good. Something about the self-satisfied talent-show quality of it, and the way that the child actors try to sound so hard, y'know?

(Incidentally, Vijay Iyer and Matt Shipp are pretty great too. Between Harmonic Dissonance, a post-bop trio album with Joe Morris and Whit Dickey, and SpaceShipp, a drone album with J. Spaceman, I'm listening to a lot of Shipp lately.)
posted by box at 11:05 AM on February 25, 2009

(Also, here's that Down Beat cover.)

(Also also, the best links for Gilchrist fans are probably the 'go-go' ones--they're public-radio in-studios, with interviews and performances.)
posted by box at 11:15 AM on February 25, 2009

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