Kasper Villaume Trio: 117 Ditmas Avenue (2005)
Drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts operates as an added accelerator on this sparkling trio jaunt led by Danish piano whiz Kasper Villaume. Sure enough, this is one of those vibrant and powerfully swinging engagements, spiced up by the musicians' buoyant gait and nicely-placed dynamics. Think of a hybrid Oscar Peterson-McCoy Tyner style: Villaume combines brawn and grace with flailing arpeggios and other enviable attributes. Garnishing the music with ample breathing room and excellent use of space, this trio covers quite a bit of musical topography. They can execute cozy and sincere balladry, but they also tackle medium-tempo blues vamps, evidenced on their slight modification of Herbie Hancock's "Toys.
Villaume and bassist Jesper Bodilsen work as a tight and complementary rhythmic sub-unit as Watts generally prods and accents the pianist's animated, right-hand single note flurries and counterbalancing chord progressions. Occasionally, the musicians kick matters into overdrive via climactic passages and emphatic soloing ventures, enhanced by the trio's in-your-face mode of attack. In addition, the digipak includes an artsy color booklet featuring photos of the studio session.
This is one of those jazz piano trio dates that rises above some of the humdrum product which often contributes to the dreaded "marketplace flooding" stigma. And it's a joyous encounter, indeed!
Track Listing: Please Enter-Tain; Dansevise; Seven Steps to Heaven; Autumn Nocturne; Conception; Toys; Caravan; I Fall in Love to Easily; Long Ago and Far Away.
Personnel: Kasper Villaume: piano; Jesper Bodilsen: bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts: drums.