John Geggie / Frank Kimbrough / Jean Martin: Ottawa, Canada April 17, 2010
Geggie's functional support on the more straight-ahead tunes, and an increasingly muscular tone and lithe approach to linear development on the more open-ended ones, has rarely sounded this good. And, as he remarked following a particularly dark but beautiful reading of the title track to one of two recent releases, Across the Sky (Plunge, 2009), the chance to hear different groups perform some of the same material always yields no shortage of the unexpected. Ending the set with Kimbrough's abstruse "Over," where the pianist's sharp-edged melody led to an impressive solo from Martin, Geggie delivered his own percussive yet round-toned solo that makes clear why, when it comes to jazz in Ottawa, he's on a level all his own.
But despite being Ottawa's best-kept secret, it's Geggie's inherent humility that continues to make his Geggie Concert Series worth following...and closely. When he can bring a trio that, in defiance of all expectations, proved capable of rare empathytraveling from sharp angles to soft curves in a nanosecondit further supports a community of local jazz fans that, with complete and utter trust, is now flocking to the bassist's shows, even when unfamiliar with its participants. Consistently sold out (or close to) crowds often walk into one of his shows with nothing more than the expectation that Geggie will have put together something of value and interest, whatever it is. In trio with Kimbrough and Martin, Geggie has created yet another successful teaming of musicians who have never played together in this combination before. It was a particularly fine evening, and certainly one to rival other piano pairings over the past several years, thanks to a bassist with intuition, an unfettered pianist with strong compositional leanings in his improvisation, and a drummer whose control of time is only rivaled by his skill with texture.
John R. Fowler