The Christian Jacob Trio: Live in Japan (2009)
As Jacob, bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ray Brinker have been together for more than a dozen yearsas a trio as well as three-fourths of singer Tierney Sutton's bandan easy familiarity undergirds their perceptive interplay. This is clearly one case, however, in which familiarity breeds not contempt but excellence, as the threesome work together like an intuitive yet no less well-oiled machine. Brinker is splendid with sticks or brushes, while Henry's bass is plangent and precise. Jacob's eloquent solo piano enriches the first two minutes-plus of the fast-paced "Too Close for Comfort," which is followed by the poignant "Never Entered My Mind" and pensive "Little Eyes." The Japanese songs, which encompass the four seasons, are well-tailored and engaging, especially the translucent "Akatonbo" (Autumn). Jacob's tranquil "State of Mind" comes next, before he and his companions ring down the curtain with exemplary readings of the venerable standards "Nothing at All" and "At Last."
As rewarding as studio sessions can be, there's an invigorating sense of spontaneity that sets concert performances above and apart from their cloistered counterparts. Live in Japan presents the Christian Jacob Trio at its extemporary best. Those who admire piano trios should be advised that they don't make 'em much better than this.
Track Listing: Too Close for Comfort; It Never Entered My Mind; Little Eyes; Hana (Spring); Natsuno Omoide (Summer); Akatonbo (Autumn); Yukino Furu Machio (Winter); State of Mind; All or Nothing at All; At Last.
Personnel: Christian Jacob: piano; Trey Henry: bass; Ray Brinker: drums.
Record Label: WilderJazz