(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Avant-jazz ensemble Bigmouth, led by bassist-composer Chris Lightcap (Williams ’93), performs a free concert in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall at Williams College on Wednesday, April 20 at 8 pm. Bigmouth’s music is characterized by the twin tenor saxophones of Tony Malaby and Chris Cheek, Craig Taborn’s keyboards, Gerald Cleaver’s musical drums, and Lightcap’s own fleet bass melodies and rhythms.
Currently based in Brooklyn, Chris Lightcap has worked with Marc Ribot, Regina Carter, Craig Taborn, John Medeski, Tomasz Stanko, John Scofield, The Swell Season, Mark Turner, Joe Morris, Chris Potter, Glen Hansard, Sheila Jordan, James Carter, Butch Morris, Ben Monder, Tom Harrell and others. His playing is featured on over 60 albums.
In addition to his work as a sideman he has led a variety of bands since 2000 and has produced four critically acclaimed albums of original music. Lightcap’s first two CDs as a leader, “Lay-Up” (2000) and “Bigmouth” (2003) were released on the Fresh Sound New Talent label and featured a quartet line-up with Gerald Cleaver on drums and Tony Malaby and Bill McHenry on tenor saxophones.
Two years later he expanded the group to a quintet, naming it Bigmouth and establishing a lineup of Craig Taborn on keyboards, Chris Cheek and Malaby on tenor saxophones and Cleaver on drums. In 2010 Bigmouth recorded “Deluxe,” Lightcap’s third CD as a leader, on Clean Feed Records with alto saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo also joining the group on three selections. The Wall Street Journal called the recording “superb” and it was named one of the best releases of 2010 by the New York Times, NPR, The Village Voice, and Jazz Times, among other publications.
In 2006, Lightcap received a commission to compose for the ensemble counter)induction, which premiered his piece Wiretap at the Tenri Cultural Center on October 16, 2006. In 2011, he received a New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America. Bigmouth premiered Lightcap’s resulting work, Lost and Found at the Earshot Jazz Festival on October 28, 2012, in Seattle. The work was subsequently broadcast on NPR for the show Jazzset with Dee Dee Bridgewater. A performance of the piece the following year was reviewed by The New York Times.
Bigmouth’s critically acclaimed 2015 release on Clean Feed Records, “Epicenter,” features this batch of music along with a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties.” A concept album about New York City, it was named one of the top albums of 2015 by the New York Times.
Born and raised in Latrobe, Penn., Chris played violin and piano before taking up the electric bass at fourteen. As a senior in high school he started to study the upright bass and the following year he enrolled at Williams College. During this period he studied bass, composition and improvisation with Milt Hinton, Cameron Brown, Robert Suderburg, Alvin Lucier, and Bill Dixon. He also had the privilege of studying and performing with master drummer Edward Blackwell shortly before his death in 1992. Upon graduating from Williams with the school’s Hutchinson arts grant he moved to his current home, New York City.
Notable recordings featuring Lightcap include releases by Craig Taborn (“Light Made Lighter”), Regina Carter (“Southern Comfort”, “Reverse Thread”, “Pagannini: After a Dream”), the Swell Season (“Strict Joy”), Matt Wilson (“Gathering Call”, “That’s Gonna Leave a Mark”), Chad Taylor (“Circle Down”), Gerald Cleaver (“Detroit”), and Joe Morris (“Underthru”, “A Cloud of Blackbirds”(Aum Fidelity), and “At the Old Office”). He has also appeared on recordings with Tom Harrell, Dianne Reeves, Marc Ribot, Anthony Coleman, Steven Bernstein, Roy Campbell, Mat Maneri and Joshua Bell.
Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall is located at 54 Chapin Hall Drive in Bernhard Music Center on the Williams College campus.
Williams concert hotline: 413-597-3146