Exclusive stream: Brian Haas and Matt Chamberlain, “An Empty House” from Frames (2013)

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The stream above premieres a choice track from the upcoming Frames LP (October 15, The Royal Potato Family) by Brian Haas and Matt Chamberlain.

Pianist Haas’ greatest claim to fame is as founder of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, but he’s made a few notable solo albums, too. Chamberlain is a drummer I most strongly remember as a partner with Bill Frisell, Lee Townsend and Tucker Martine over two exquisite albums under the Floratone moniker. Beyond that project, Chamberlain has also been associated with artists as diverse as Tori Amos, Brad Mehldau and Edie Brickell and made a couple of his own records, too.

Without giving away too much of the script, Frames is a smart utilization of the strengths of both participants: Haas’ informed, highly nuanced composing and Chamberlain’s acumen of bringing something much more to a song than just a beat. Says Haas, “Matt’s ability to use the studio as an instrument has to be seen to be believed…he effortlessly gave each piece its own personality and color.”

The rapidly repeating succession of notes that dominates “An Empty House” conjures up Steve Reich minimalism, but Chamberlain’s playful mixture of drums and percussion lures it out of its mechanical intensity and after a climatic splash, Haas puts a bow on it with a soft, reflective coda. It stops cold at three minutes sharp when, darn it, I’m wanting more.

Better to leave too little than too much, however. “An Empty House” is indicative of the conciseness that’s all over Frames but missing from so many modern instrumentalists. That’s why this partnership just had to happen.

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