Jazzeptember (Part II): Jonas Cambien Trio, Neil Cowley Trio, Jim Black Trio & Uri Caine Trio

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Jonas Cambien Trio: A Zoology Of The Future

Hopefully you had time to digest last week’s four excellent new “jazz” releases because I’ve got four more for you this week. Four trios to be exact. First is the Jonas Cambien Trio, from Norway (though, Cambien is Belgian) with their debut album A Zoology Of The Future. How could you not want to check out an album with that title? The music lives up to the billing, Cambien on piano joined by saxophones and drums, old-meets-new-meets-not-yet-discovered styles, things getting wild and avant garde and then finding sweet and beautiful melodies in between. The songs are mostly short for a jazz album, packing ideas into a single blast and then moving on to the next, building up to the triumphant, excellent eight-minute closer. You’ll enjoy working your way up to that one.

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Neil Cowley Trio: Spacebound Apes

Still with me? Good! Next up is another excellent release from the Neil Cowley Trio. The piano-bass-drums group’s sixth studio album is Spacebound Apes and is a superlative offering in the well-traveled form. While many artists might have songs that tell a story or offer a paragraph of ideas, Cowley’s pieces here are almost like single words: simple, elegant, thought-provoking. The first track is called “Weightless” and much of the playing feels just that way, untethered and free from gravity. And then things will snap back with an upbeat, almost pop melody. Quite an achievement, do check it out.

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Jim Black Trio: The Constant

If you go to see enough jazz shows, especially in New York City, you start to see many of the same musicians in backing roles and the best ones start to make a long-lasting impression. Jim Black is a prime example, a drummer who I’ve been blown away every time I’ve seen him in a backing role. So it’s good to see him just as impressive leading the charge on the recently released The Constant. This is piano trio music from a drummer’s point of view, each instrument providing equal parts rhythm and melody. The result is a very free and textured album with plenty of improvisation and some of the best damn drumming you could ask for.

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Uri Caine Trio: Calibrated Thickness

Finally, one more fantastic trio for you, this one led by Uri Caine. It is always a real treat listening to Caine play the piano, he is a real magician combining speed and power and a light-touch beauty in ever-imaginative ways. On his latest record, Calibrated Thickness, he is joined by an excellent rhythm section of Clarence Penn on drums and Mark Helias on bass and while it’s a “new” trio, they have definitely played together many times and it really shows. The album has the loose feel of a jazz club gig, piano music at its finest and a good one to finish on. Hopefully you’ve found a few keepers over the past couple of weeks.

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