Edward Simon: Unicity (2006)
Simon performs Catalonian composer Frederic Mompou's haunting "Prelude No. 9 with minimal accompaniment, adding an improvised section and slightly modifying its time signature. His driving original "The Midst of Chaos is the best overall solo showcase for the musicians. The character of his hypnotic vamp in "Eastern is reminiscent of Keith Jarrett's concert improvisations of the mid '70s, with Blade's hand percussion adding a nice touch.
There are two versions of the pianist's brooding "Abiding Unicity. The initial rendition is more dramatic, enhanced by Patitucci's warm arco bass in its swirling introduction, with Simon's enchanting solo displaying subtlety, backed by Blade's stirring percussion. The reprise of the theme at the end of the CD is of a totally different character, with a more straight-ahead rhythm, retaining a bittersweet flavor while offering a degree of hope not heard on the initial take. Patitucci switches to electric bass and takes the lead for much of the ominous-sounding "Evolution, and also contributed the cheerfully post-bop "The Messenger. Piano trios rarely reach the heights of Unicity.
Track Listing: Invocation; The Messenger; Abiding Unicity; Gevriasolas; The Midst of Chaos; Prelude N.9; Pathless Path; Evolution; Eastern; Abiding Unicity (Reprise).
Personnel: Edward Simon: piano; John Patitucci: bass, electric bass; Brian Blade: drums.
Record Label: Cam Jazz