Brian Charette: Missing Floor (2009)
The typical jazz trio consists of bass, drums and a lead instrumentusually a guitar, saxophone, organ or piano. Brian Charette sidesteps this ideal with something as interesting as it is off the proverbial beaten path.
Organist Charette also plays the piano and uses a laptop computer in creating the sounds for Missing Floor. For accompaniment, he does have a drummer in Jochen Rueckert. Leon Gruenbaum completes the ensemble, playing piano and Samchillian, which is a computer keyboard that creates digital music.
"Yue Fei" is straightforward, with Charette carrying the load most of the way, but with Rueckert afforded plenty of freedom. The drums are even more emphatic on "E.S.P." Rueckert engages in several rolls on the toms during a call-and-response sequence with Charette.
Electronic sounds set up "Three Lights," an other-worldly piece that connects trio jazz with suspenseful sci-fi tones. At times, it feels like a throwback to some 1970s fusion, while maintaining a modern feel. The formula works for an "out there" but enjoyable selection.
"Standing Still" defies its name. This constant-motion song is engaging from the first until the last. The trio skillfully balances the unit with the individuals. Woody Shaw's "Moontrane," one of five covers, is another straight-ahead piece, with Rueckertas he does throughoutcomplementing the leads with excellent handling of toms and crisp cymbal play.
The electronic elements of the laptop and the Samchillian enhance the overall sound of the arrangement, however, there are a few spots where computer-sounds-as-music don't work. The practice doesn't turn a good album into a bad one, but it does at times disrupt the flow.
Track Listing: Yue Fei; E.S.P.; The Honeydripper; Wu Wei; Time Changes; Three Lights; Missing Floor; Standing Still; Symmetry; Spring Is Here; Pings; Giant Deconstruction; Moontrane; Aleatron.
Personnel: Brian Charette: organ, laptop, piano (4); Jochen Rueckert: drums; Leon Gruenbaum: Samchillian, piano (6).
Record Label: Self Produced
Style: Modern Jazz