Phil Markowitz: Catalysis (2008)
The level of communication between the members of the trio is of the highest order. After the sneaky unison line on the opening "M.D.A.," supported by Nussbaum's brush-stroke bounce, Anderson performs his first of many clever bass solos, morphing into a swinging piano romp rather seamlessly. "For the Sake of..." begins with subdued, free-form ideas, before the lush, rather abstract harmonic sequence floats to the surface without a hint of hesitation.
Following the rhythmic intensity of the up-tempo "Breach," Anderson executes a floating, lyrical solo introduction to set up the contrapuntal "Whys and Wherefores"a disc highlight. The five-note bass ostinato at the beginning of "Undercurrents" serves as the catalyst for a multi-layered piece full of unpredictable twists and turns.
On the lengthy ballad "Waiting," Markowitz unravels simplistic themes over a stark, emotive landscape. Nussbaum's quiet presence gives the tune inconspicuous coloration. The hard-swinging title track showcases impressive chops and a tight rhythmic bond between drums and bass. The session ends with "Fine," a light, straight-eighth groove with clustered piano voicings.
With no shortage of piano trio recordings being released, Catalysis is a stand-out; an inventive, collaborative effort.
Track Listing: M.D.A.; For the Sake of…; Breach; Whys and Wherefores; Undercurrents; Waiting; Catalysis; Fine.
Personnel: Phil Markowitz: piano; Jay Anderson: bass; Adam Nussbaum: drums.
Record Label: Sunnyside Records
Style: Modern Jazz