Michel Reis: Point of No Return (2011)
The finely focused, mostly piano trio effort is augmented on three tracks by Vivek Patel's rich-toned flugelhorn, and is joined by soprano saxophonist Aaron Kruziki on the opener, "The Power of Beauty."
Reis is a musical storyteller in the mode of Ennio Morricone, the Italian soundtrack master, his soundscapes drawing pictures and stirring up reflective moods. "The Power of Beauty" explores, with its ebb and flow energy and pensive/gregarious dynamic, the subtleties and quirky joys of the appreciation of what pleases the soul. The group's approach is remarkably cohesive: like chamber music in its ebb times; jazzy and vivacious, when the tempo flows freer.
The trio tune, "Folk Song"with its deceptively simple melody and sublime delicacy, combined with the leader's Bill Evans'-like touchhas a floating, pastoral feeling, painted by the subtle group interplay. "Sailing Away" opens with more forward momentum than most of the tunes, and then drifts into an interlude of spare, sparkling, inward quietude.
Patel rejoins the trio on "It's Only Been a Dream," which surges on a flexible momentum, while the title cut has the most hopeful vibe of the set, with a danceable rhythm that shifts into zesty, quirky, frenetic interludes, giving way to moments of lovely repose. "Riverside Drive" again features Patel, and some gorgeous, spontaneous-sounding work from Reis.
"The Sad Clown" closes out this first-rate set on a subdued and melancholy note, its dark-hued atmosphere full of gray shadows, shot through with shafts of sunlight.
Track Listing: The Power of Beauty; Folk Song; Sailing Away at Night; It's Only Been a Dream; Point of No Return; Riverside Drive; Street of Memories; Leaning Towards Tomorrow; The Sad Clown.
Personnel: Michel Reis: piano; Tal Gamlieli: bass; Adam Cruz: drums; Vivek Patel: flugelhorn (1, 4, 6); Aaron Kruziki: soprano saxophone (1).
Record Label: Armored Records