One stereotypical visualization of a jazz group onstage sparks up the image of a smoke filled bar, the gentle tapping of glasses, a conversation in the corner between two friends. However, in the modern jazz world chamber jazz often reaches to eliminate stereotypes about conventional ensemble make-ups. While there certainly hasn't been a written-in-stone lineup for the jazz trio in the past, as we venture further into the 21st century more and more writers and performers want to see what other combinations are possible.
Composer and trumpeter Paul Tynan has been experimenting with this for the last few years. Radio Infrequency, his fourth album as a leader on NohJoh Music, is an interesting and daring trio lineup. Tynan eliminates the familiar pulse of bass and drums and replaces it with sensitivity, interaction and strong compositions. Tynan brings one of the most important aspects of jazz to the forefrontthe conversation that takes place between the musiciansand this trio explores that concept thoroughly.
Helping Tynan out on this recording are pianist Dave Restivo and guitarist Noel Johnston. The chemistry is inspiring, as all three musicians have a unique and complementary style and sound. Everyone takes risks, switches rolls and is not afraid to play or think outside of the box.
Restivo is at times sensitive, at others percussive, providing both the harmonic and rhythmic foundation for the trio. Johnston has impressive technique. His sound is bright and sparklinga wonderful contrast to the dark, romantic tone of Tynan, who plays with an engagingly lyrical approach. All three musicians play off each other, listen carefully and are not afraid to use silence to let their musical thoughts rest.
Tynan's wonderful writing fits this ensemble perfectlylyrical and interesting and, at times, feeling as if the trio has written the music together. There is a comfort level here, a testament to the trio's total musicianship. From the opening chords of "Dapple Fan the album shows its sensitivity, virtuosity and energy. Tynan's writing style is wide-ranging, including sensitive ballads like "May I +19. The title track is reminiscent of fellow Trumpeter Tom Harrell's writing, yet keeps Tynan's own sense of lyrical melodism.
Personnel: Paul Tynan: flugelhorn; Dave Restivo: piano; Noel Johnston: guitar.