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Pandelis Karayorgis Trio: Cocoon (2013)

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Pandelis Karayorgis Trio: Cocoon How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

With so many projects in the works, where is one to begin in a survey of pianist Pandelis Karayorgis? The Boston-based educator (born in Athens, Greece) is a member of The Whammies (featuring Han Bennink
Han Bennink
Han Bennink
b.1942
drums
), a sextet formed with Driff Records partner Jorrit Dijkstra to cover the music of Steve Lacy
Steve Lacy
Steve Lacy
1934 - 2004
sax, soprano
. He also maintains a Chicago Quintet with Dave Rempis
Dave Rempis
Dave Rempis

saxophone
, Keefe Jackson
Keefe Jackson
Keefe Jackson

saxophone
, Nate McBride, and Frank Rosaly
Frank Rosaly
Frank Rosaly
b.1974
drums
, and is a member of System of 5, Construction Party, and the Guillermo Gregorio/Pandelis Karayorgis/Steve Swell
Steve Swell
Steve Swell
b.1954
trombone
Trio.

Perhaps the best introduction to his sound is in this trio. Karayorgis has led several variations of a classic jazz trio, first his collaboration with Nate McBride and Randy Peterson, then MI3, with McBride and Curt Newton
Curt Newton

drums
. The machination of the trio concept on Cocoon teams finds him with bassist Jef Charland and drummer Luther Gray
Luther Gray
Luther Gray

drums
. With respect to his other trios, this one is the best yet.

Karayorgis' music is a blotter for the music of Herbie Nichols
Herbie Nichols
Herbie Nichols
1919 - 1963
piano
, Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
, and Andrew Hill
Andrew Hill
Andrew Hill
1937 - 2007
piano
. Like these skilled innovators, the signature on these compositions (six out of ten here) is his explanation of swing. The pianist combines the playfulness of Alexander von Schlippenbach with the physicality of Don Pullen
Don Pullen
Don Pullen
1941 - 1995
piano
to create a slightly unbalanced sound. His self-spun approach on "You Took My Coffee And Left" pairs a stylish swing with a galloping right hand full of notes. With a rhythm section eager to swing along, Karayorgis is free to fly. "Sideways Glance" could easily be mistaken for a Monkian meditation, employing an off-kilter groove to showcase what critics once called "wrong notes," when played by Monk.

Charland and Gray are disposed to the same approach. They can tinker with a time signature, as on "Jabberwocky," or extend the conversation. On "Red," a tromp of a blues, Charland maintains his end of the conversation, with Gray sliding remarks in between. Each piece presented here is a unique take on surreptitious swing.

Track Listing: Cocoon; Downed; Idiosynchronicity; You Took My Coffee And Left; Sideways Glance; Settling; Red; Hopscotch; Jabberwocky; Incandescent.

Personnel: Pandelis Karayorgis: piano; Jef Charland: bass; Luther Gray: drums.

Record Label: Driff Records

Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


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