Crump brought together Rosetta Trio for the first time in 2005 to record an album of pieces written in the aftermath of 9/11. That “engaging and sublime meeting” (Signal to Noise) of Crump on acoustic bass with guitarists Liberty Ellman and Jamie Fox, produced Rosetta (2006), which was greeted enthusiastically by fans, radio, and the press. “Here is a string ensemble for the new century!” raved All About Jazz NY. Their second album, Reclamation (2010), declared “a low-key marvel” (JazzTimes) and noted for its “bareness in emotion” (NPR), was much more than a follow-up effort, though it was the earlier album that gave the trio its name and its mission: to inhabit the dynamic and rhythmic flexibility of a drumless ensemble and embrace its challenges and expanded responsibilities; to reject restrictions of genre; to explore different territories of feel, texture, color; to groove. Recorded after eight years of collaboration and on the heels of a two-week European tour, Thwirl captures Rosetta Trio not only at peak telepathy, but charting new territories of shape and feel.
The diverse array of sounds and sources on display is a natural extension of Crump’s varied work as a performer. Known for transforming his instrument into a speaking entity with a magnetic pull on audiences, Crump recently launched his solo performance career as an invited artist at the 2009 International Society of Bassists conference. Since 2010, he has released three recordings documenting his free-improvised duo collaborations with alto saxophonist Steve Lehman, pianist James Carney, and guitarist Mary Halvorson. Crump has received special notice of late for his 14 years of collaboration with pianist/composer Vijay Iyer, whose 2009 Grammy-nominated and Echo Award-winning trio release, Historicity, has been heralded a game-changing jazz recording. “Someone’s got to be the Holy Spirit, representing your faith that this jazz will breathe..” noted Ben Ratliff in his New York Times review of a Vijay Iyer Trio performance in NYC, “It’s the bassist, of course, cutting through with big, wise, rounded notes.”
The elegance and purposeful groove of Crump’s playing, making him much more than a “sideman”, are also on display outside of the jazz world, most often with the Jim Campilongo Electric Trio and with Crump’s wife, the radiant singer/songwriter Jen Chapin, with whom he has worked as a bassist, arranger, and producer. Over the years, Crump’s performances on both acoustic and electric bass have been heard across North America and Europe with Joel Harrison, Mahavishnu Project, Bobby Previte, Patti Austin, Gordon Gano, Lucy Kaplansky, Big Ass Truck, and the late Johnny Clyde Copeland. His compositions can be heard in numerous films as well as on his earlier albums as a leader: Poems and Other Things, Tuckahoe and Rosetta.
Ellman and Fox were both fixtures on the San Francisco Bay area scene and had toured internationally before arriving in New York in the 90s. Aside from his own critically-acclaimed recording career, Ellman has been featured as guitarist and producer in Henry Threadgill’s innovative group, Zooid, and has performed with other jazz visionaries such as Steve Coleman and Greg Osby. An accomplished jazz composer in his own right, Fox brings his idiosyncratic folk, R&B and blues perspective that has contributed to the music of such legends as Joan Baez and Brother Jack McDuff.