Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

5

Bradley Williams / Eric Hochberg / Jim Widlowski: 3

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Stalwarts of the Chicago music scene and veterans of an impressive array of collaborations with a who's who of jazz, pianist Bradley Williams, bassist Eric Hochberg—who together penned all the tunes— and drummer Jim Widlowski make their debut trio recording with 3, an elegant, straight-ahead set of originals. Much of Williams' recorded output over the past twenty years has reflected his love of the music of Cole Porter, Jimmy Van Heusen, Frank Loesser and The Great American Songbook, so the unhurried, melody-driven lyricism in the playing here should come as no surprise. Whilst the music reflects a more romantic era of the classic piano trio, there is nevertheless, a subtly contemporary air about the music.

The collaborative nature in the play is underlined by the fact that the three are rarely heard in isolation. Apart from the delicate piano miniature of "Twilight Prelude" and Hochberg's pretty solo vignette, "little 'e,'" there are barely more a few seconds of drum improvisation here and there when the others lay out. When piano is flowing, drums and bass never let go of Williams' tail; similarly, even on the most intimate bass solos—with Hochberg releasing a few notable ones—flickering piano, and cymbals as quiet as gently ticking clock are almost never absent.

Gently undulating improvisational waves ebb and flow throughout these compositions, though in lieu of overtly lead lines there is, rather, a sense of subtle shifts in the balance of the trio, such as on "Penultimatum" and "The Garden." Three distinct voices are ever at play, sometimes in disciplined unison, but more usually in independent, interweaving patterns whose aim is the higher goal of a collective voice. The more traditional "For Crowley" is evocative of a charmingly lazy Duke Ellington blues; rhythmically loping, Williams casts tumbling lines between shorter phrases and there's a lovely lightness of step in the trio's gait.

The distinctive melody and vibe of "In the Delta Valley" leans towards the classical piano jazz of yore; walking bass and ride cymbal stoke the trio's engine as Williams stretches out, followed in turn by Hochberg. Both musicians boast terrific chops, but never at the expense of the narrative, which with this trio is essentially soulful and melodic. The trio juggles and flirts with yet another pretty melody on "Waiting...Waiting...," shaped by a repeating piano motif and gorgeous bass line, though Widlowski's inventive, light touch significantly defines the tune's folds and contours.

The grooving, celebratory New Orleans-esque shuffle of "Clybourn Strut" is followed by Hochberg's quietly rhapsodic "Song for Sarah." This lyrical gem might have made a better closing trio statement then the bop-inspired "Plumb Bob"; whilst exuding plenty of energy, this tune, tossed around between the musicians, has more the feel of a rousing first set closer. This, however, is a minor criticism which fails to detract from a fine recording where three musicians on one wavelength produce elegant, timeless sounds.

Track Listing: Twilight Prelude; Penultimatum; The Garden; For Crowley; Fish Samich; In The Delta Valley; Waiting... Waiting...; little "e"; Before Fall; Clybourn Strut; Song For Sarah; Plumb Bob.

Personnel: Bradley Williams: piano; Eric Hochberg: bass; Jim Widlowski: drums.

Title: 3 | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: 21st Century Entertainment


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Ariel CD/LP/Track Review Ariel
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Fukushima CD/LP/Track Review Fukushima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Dedication CD/LP/Track Review Dedication
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Surface of Inscription CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "The Wandering Woods" CD/LP/Track Review The Wandering Woods
by Jim Olin
Published: October 9, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Ain't Who I Was" CD/LP/Track Review Ain't Who I Was
by Doug Collette
Published: October 28, 2017
Read "Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "05:21" CD/LP/Track Review 05:21
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 28, 2016
Read "Escape  from The Unhappy Society" CD/LP/Track Review Escape from The Unhappy Society
by Anthony Shaw
Published: February 1, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor