What quickly becomes obvious listening to Michael Moore and his Trio is the refined taste and the casual virtuosity of one of the great bass players of our time. Over the years Moore has played alongside an encyclopedic list of jazz notables including Bill Evans and Stan Getz. On this disc he anchors an excellent trio that includes Ken Peplowski on clarinet and tenor saxophone and Tom Melito on drums.
There is a spare, open sound to the trio that emphasizes the rapport of these three musicians. Ken Peplowski’s virtuoso clarinet work is displayed on a curious, almost swing, version of Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee.” The bowed bass and clarinet unison bop lines are a surprise in a CD full of wonderful surprises. In addition to clarinet, Peplowski plays a soulful tenor saxophone; his solo on “Creole Love Call” is a highlight of this recording. Drummer Tom Melito is consistently attuned to the dynamics of the group in a supportive roll while proving he’s got some significant solo chops during his extended duet with Moore on “Monk’s Dream.”
The instrumental combinations are interesting throughout with a clarinet version of “A Night in Tunisia” alongside a clarinet and bass duet version of “Body and Soul.” Also, this CD includes a wildly eclectic array of tunes such as “That Da Da Strain” and “I’m Coming Virginia” (from the 1920’s) in the same set with John Coltrane’s “Wise One” and Clare Fischer’s “Pensativa.”
From start to finish Michael Moore is the steady hub of the action. His bowed solos are stunning for their rhythmic vitality and their full lyrical sound; his exchanges with Peplowski are intricate and exciting. In short, don’t miss this trio recording. These musicians have a unique sound and a playful gift for the upbeat. We can only hope that the next volume of the Michael Moore trio will soon follow.
Track Listing: That Da Da Strain; Very Early; I
Personnel: Michael Moore, bass; Ken Peplowski, clarinet and tenor saxophone; Tom Melito, drums.