Michael Cain Sola (Native Drum)
JAZZIZ On Disc (Disc Two)
Over the past couple of decades, pianist and composer Michael Cain has built a solid career as both sideman and leader. Recognized for his associations with Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland and other jazz giants, Cain has steadily expanded his own discography, as well. On his latest entry, Sola (Native Drum), Cain handles keyboards and electronic programming as he leads a Las Vegas-based sextet on a half-dozen tracks and a New York-based trio on two others. The results are highly atmospheric, replete with electronica textures and svelte dance-floor rhythms. But Cain has more on his mind than chilling out. On “In the Front Door,” our selection, he incorporates snippets of spoken reminiscences by the late bandleader Gerald Wilson. Inserting the monologue into a bed of slippery electronic pulses, Cain allows the gravitas of Wilson’s words to anchor the track. Detailing the final days of Jim Crow, Wilson describes how the NAACP worked to tear down racial barriers in Las Vegas. Beyond his connection with Wilson — Cain had played in his band — the pianist seems to have a personal stake in the track, having grown up in Vegas.