These celebrated musicians offset the conventional or perhaps anticipated stylizations of jazz piano trio fare by personalizing, reconfiguring, and injecting a host of enchanting events into the grand schema. As the story goes, the premise for these compositions are based on the exchanges the musicians had with master chef Paul Canales and his gastronomic delights, resulting from a performance at The Guest House in Berkeley, CA. Indeed, an auditory feast designed with prismatic persuasions.
While they sustain a unique group-centric identity, the musicians toss in numerous curves and digressions with bristling shuffle grooves, tantalizing textures, high-heat, and swirling choruses. Melford’s mastery of block chords and her unified approach with the rhythm section offers an added factor to the sum of the buoyantly moving parts. They build up steam, tear themes apart and whirl through complexities to contrast works steeped in bluesy, heartfelt balladry.
The trio incorporates false-endings, tricky time signatures and odd-metered pulses on “The Promised Land,” where Melford’s catchy phrasings radiate into a power trio setting sans the electronics. In various regions of sound, the musicians engage in scrappy dialogues and avant-garde type demolitions. Yet, it’s a multi-leveled charter, sparked by Dresser’s prominent bottom-end and Wilson’s polyrhythmic flurries.
At times introspective, evidenced on the colorful and delicate “Even Birds Have Homes (To Return To),” the overall muse of this spirited set intimates an abundance of mood-evoking episodes to complement the topsy-turvy free-form exchanges and geometrical storylines. Indeed, an endeavor that should whet the appetite for a broad jazz audience, exercised through the looking glass of art (scheduled release date: February 1, 2012). – Glenn Astarita
Myra Melford: piano; Mark Dresser: bass; Matt Wilson: drums.