Alon Yavnai Trio: Picture This (2004)
Picture This, by the Alon Yavnai Trio, features an intriguing mix of music from different geographical areas as well as historical eras. Backed by Massimo Biolcati on acoustic bass and Take Toriyama on drums (with guest spots by Cuban reed player Paquito D'Rivera), pianist Yavnai tackles Middle Eastern-tinged material, a Bach fugue, as well as some Cuban jazz offerings. Impressively, the band is able to offer dynamic, forward-looking performances, even when they are looking to the past.
Drummer Toriyama, in particular, fires these pieces. His off-kilter interjections and unique percussion voices seem to keep his band mates on edge and alert to the possibilities of each number. His inventiveness on "The Beginning, composed by bassist Biolcati, certainly inspires admiration.
Picture This is a deeply ambitious work, an attempt to connect the dots between music of disparate types and different eras with the common element of jazz swing. However, the all-inclusive embrace of the material yields an album that never sounds pedantic or overburdened by the history and genre minutiae of the music. The trio succeeds in making even the mathematical rigors of a Bach fugue seem entirely appropriate for the tender sway of a slow dance.
Track Listing: Blues For Alon; Paquito's Merengue; The Beginning; Fugue No. 7 Eb Major From 2nd Book; Funk Tango; Mouche Blues; Zamba Azul; Up Hill; Picture This; Long Time Ago Moses
Personnel: Alon Yavnai-piano; Massimo Biolcati-acoustic bass; Take Toriyama-drums; with Paquito D'Rivera-reeds
Record Label: Bon Rapport Music