How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Bluiett, Jackson and El'Zabar pour a little of everything into their collaboration. Wordless scat vocals, lyrical ballads, soulful blues, leading-edge exploring, modern jazz, and exotic vocal incantations make for an eclectic session. Kahil El'Zabar sets a fascinating scene with his spiritual singing and natural drum accompaniment. D.D. Jackson applies his adventurous keyboard technique to each of the widely different scenarios. Bluiett takes over, asserting his gospel-tinged baritone saxophone all over the place with a veteran's sense of swing. It's the pianist who pushes the envelope harder than most. In a lovely tirade that recalls Don Pullen, Jackson swirls his way around "Blues for the People." He surges through various contemporary keyboard timbres on his "Wake Up and Dream," taking the time to allow each voice its space. Mostly originals, the program balances fast-flowing adventure with soft, natural, earth tones. Wooden flute, hand drums, and age-old chants set a relaxed pace.
The title track summarizes the trio's intended focus. Alternating a lyrical, European waltz melody with powerful, New Orleans shuffle thrusts, the three-some calls upon Bluiett's World Saxophone Quartet experience. They collaborate for emphatic counterpoint, punctuated with excited instrumental remarks from each. Demonstrating growth in modern jazz without ever approaching the harsh or the absurd, Bluiett's trio brings an enjoyable experience to the forum.
Track Listing: Open My Eyes; Sai-Way; When the Elephant Walks; Blues for the People; Wake Up and Dream; Ask and You Shall Find; Black Danube (The Calling); We Are; Odd Pocket; Blues Grind.