Flowers And Other Stories by Dan Bilawsky
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Flowers And Other Stories
In recent years, the guitar triowith bass and drumshas reached mythic status. Once an obscure instrumentation, the setting has been elevated to new heights by young guitarists seeking the kind of interplay for which the piano trio is so laudedthe very interplay so written about that it has become a cliché to even mention. After all, who has not read some nameless jazz writer go on ad nauseam about the "serene conversations" of the Bill Evanstrio? That said, the format does afford real opportunities for musical dialogue perhaps unrealized by guitarists of the 1950s and '60s, with the exception of a few who were brave enough to play in trio such as Jim Hall, Grant Green, and Barney Kessel. These exchanges arise not just from the small size of the trio, but more importantly from its lack of narrowly defined roles. In a way, the modern trio possesses neither accompanist nor leader, leaving open the possibility for success or failure, for agreement or disagreement. Functions change often, and with enough fluidity that they might never have existed at all.
And if the guitar's role has changed in contemporary jazz, so too has that of the drums. Even if the master drummers of the 1960s were able to contribute melodically, a great number of contemporary drummerstake Ari Hoenig, for instancehave perhaps recognized to a greater degree that rhythm contains the very same expressive capabilities as harmony. Expounding on that realization, they have brought the drums to the fore of the music. As such, it is only fitting that Billy Hart, one of the forebears of contemporary drumming, should take the stage. His advanced sense of form and keen ear for melody have not only made him influential among young drummers but, over the years, also earned him stints with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Wes Montgomery.
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