How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
D.D. Jackson's piano trio opens his latest album with a down-home flavor. Laid back and wholesome, the piece forms an instant association with Ray Charles. Jackson's improvisation, however, moves off into a different, desired direction. More adventurous than most, the pianist stretches his blues tinge across the keyboard in favor of dynamic inflection. All the compositions are Jackson's. His impressionism runs from one continent to another throughout history, and retains a highly romantic mood. It's an acoustic session. As the album's title suggests, Jackson seems to be saying, "Follow me, as I take you on a tour of exotic and distant lands." It's time travel, as well, as the leader moves through spirituals and vignettes from the roots of jazz. Christian Howes surrounds "Summer" with the light drone of evening's trademark manner. His violin twines with piano to create a lovely folk melody. It's right out of rural Americana. Elsewhere, Freddie Bryant joins the trio to loll in their lighter moments. They all come together for the title track, which explores the deeper meaning of Latin jazz. Dance rhythms and traditional timbres mesmerize, while piano, violin and guitar offer vocal-like melodies. Representing growth on the jazz horizon, Jackson provides sensible doses of avant-garde piano antics. He's on fire for "Cubano-Funk." For the most part, however, the pianist lets up on tension through this session. Following his lead, we're in for a journey through places where jazz has been and where it's headed.
Track Listing: The Welcoming; Romanza; Le Shuffle; For Desdemona; Jam Band; Summer; Cubano-Funk; Fort Greene Park; Sigame (Follow Me); Prologue.