Primary Instrument: Piano
Steve Lantner brings the disparate natures of a wide range of musical styles--free improvisation, jazz, contemporary chamber and microtonal music--together to create an all encompassing voice that is uniquely his.
He is known for his originality, energy, versatility and a style that places melody and harmony back on the improviser's palette alongside texture, velocity and abstraction.
Part of his pursuit is to find a new language that embraces the deep traditions of Jazz without picking one side or the other in its dichotomy--to establish a style that embraces the breadth of all the developments at our disposal.
Steve Lantner's radiantly novel approach contains the stuff that provides the earmarks for a fruitful career....No doubt, Lantner is an inventor who pushes his craft to the limits....Essentially, they investigate the free zone but perform with the refinement and elegance of a seasoned and well-disciplined jazz piano trio. This wonderful outing should not slip into a state of secrecy! Compulsory listening! ~ Glenn Astarita - All About Jazz, 7/18/02
Blue Yonder is a tour de force for Boston-area pianist Steve Lantner. His range is vast, covering most strains of jazz-based improvisation as well as an unusually broad knowledge of techniques lifted from European-derived art music. He swings like a madman and abstracts like a mutha. Throw in a huge imagination, and you've got a tremendous piano player. ~ Chris Kelsey - JazzTimes
The trio has a rounded presence that's unbelievable....That the pieces are improvised at times seems unbelievable - the band stays as in-step as any recent piano trio session....If you're a piano fan, this will be a heavy-rotation treat. ~ Andrew Bartlett, Coda Magazine
The trio is strong. Their achievement of groove is outstanding. Listening to this recording is like fast-forwarding piano trio expectations. The fast-forwarding brings us into present time....Lantner clarifies an upper level of piano improvisation. ~ Lyn Horton - jazzreview.com
This is one piano trio that isn't afraid of dealing with the historical hand that's been dealt them. ~ Bill Meyer - Signal to Noise
On Saying So, free jazz pianist Steve Lantner gives new meaning to the word lyrical. He extends beyond gentle melodies to emphasize communication, and thus tell a story. Lantner builds statements, exclamations, and questions--and that feeling comes from his phrasing. When he's out front, Lantner has a particularly articulate way of putting things together. It's not the pointed lightning stabs of Cecil Taylor or the dark, angular thrusts of Matthew Shipp. Instead, Lantner relies on understatement and a gentle touch to make the music work. And it works. Consistently throughout each of these four extended pieces (7 to 30 minutes long), he allows ideas to unfurl at a deliberate pace, unrushed and crystalline in their clarity. And he's not averse to swinging, either.
~ Nils Jacobson - All About, Jazz 8/7/02
The pianist and his trio play in a wildly creative albeit gentlemanly free-improvisational style that draws from an unusual source (for free players, at least). This trio does not recall the egalitarian piano trios of, say, Bill Evans, or the thick abstraction of the post-Cecil Taylor school so much as it skips right back to the mainstream bebop piano trio sound of the '50s, though subsequently refracted through an abstract, thoroughly modern idiom....the real star of this show is Lantner.
~ Aaron Steinberg - Jazz Times, May 2003
Lantner's playing, while completely free, shows a deep, nearly cellular, mastery of form and balance....His tone is round and warm and his playing, even at its most forceful, is unerringly elegant....Lantner is a great talent, and Saying So is an essential document of his rising star.
~ James Beaudreau - Pop Matters December 2002
Never harsh, and quite accessible, the album expresses Free Jazz the way it's meant to be.
~ Jim Santella - Cadence, December 2002
Lantner is an imposing presence.
~ Christian Carey - Copper Press
This is a disc that one hesitates to label subtle, for they do not play particularly softly, nor are the lines difficult to detect. It's only that this is the antithesis of a blowing sessions. All lines clear, spare, powerful and immediate, yet there's more revealed each listening.
~ Steven H. Koenig - All About Jazz, Best of 2001
This improvising troupe conjures up meticulously crafted or perhaps spellbinding interludes, enhanced by the musicians' distinctive and altogether stylistic approaches to their crafts....Three pioneers at the top of their game!
~ Glenn Astarita - All About Jazz
It's a very fine document of a fairly naked, no-safety-net working process that finds fresh and honest accommodations.
~ John Kennedy, Opprobrium
The music ripples and bubbles....This jazz is cool and undemonstrative, yet the freedoms it opens up are as dizzying as any broached by the bluster school.
~ The Wire
Fascinating improvisation and lots of depth by two musicians who obviously share the same ambitions. The duo perform as if they were truly Reaching for something which perhaps was previously unattainable. Imagery, poise and articulate renderings come to light as if these pieces were chronicles or events as told by two men speaking from within. Wondrous improvisation!
This one is aptly named. Steven Lantner and Mat Maneri are indeed reaching: for new combinations, new sounds, new potentialities to realize. This is extraor-dinarily active music, lurching every which way, jumping, skating, flying, and swooping down into a brood... Dark, low key, searching, furious, exalted, exalting improvised music. ~ Robert Spencer, allaboutjazz.com/December 1999
Their fine inscriptions of line and point are decisively made, but an attractive fragility is created through their adventurous departures from intervallic norms. That this austere and sophisticated improvisation takes microtonality as its means rather than its end makes all the difference. ~ Julian Cowley, The Wire, Issue 190/191 It's [an] album to be treasured. There's no sell-out or move to the mainstream here, but there is an exploration of an area of improvised music which has previously been sidelined. As more young players like Lantner come to international atten-tion it will be interesting to see how this strand of free improvisation develops. ~ Richard Cochrane, Musings
Steve Lantner Quartet, Paradise Road (Skycap, 2006)
Steve Lantner Trio, Blue Yonder (Skycap, 2005)
Steve Lantner Trio, Saying So (Riti 2002)
Lantner/Maneri/Morris, Voices Lowered (Leo, 2001)
Steve Lantner/Mat Maneri, Reaching (Leo, 1997)
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