The Jazzic Trio: Freedom of Choice
There are moments of supreme loveliness, high tension, romantic grandeur, and spiky intensity. Indeed, this trio sounds like a larger ensemble, and is stylistically all over the map without being diffuse. Stevens holds it all together with his extraordinary range and sensitivity, as well as a fine rhythmic flair and variance that maintains the sound of surprise. "Reborn," to take just one example, starts out almost in lounge piano territory, but ventures subtly into unexpected areas - especially in the broad sweep of Stevens' playing - that only augment its emotional power.
This is just one of eight Stevens compositions on this disc, and each one adds to his case to be considered a composer of the first rank. "Tango" captures a mood magnificently. "Sebastian's Dance" is a fine feature for a romantic and almost mournful Valeur.
A consistently fascinating trio disc, powered by a great pianist. Recommended.
Michael Jefry Stevens, p; Karen Valeur, cello; Jon Sebastian Hemmersam, ac g.
Record Label: Inter Music