All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

2

Ben McDonnell: Aleph Trio

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Guitarist Ben McDonnell's Aleph Trio takes its name from a story by Jorge Luis Borge involving a poet who "discovers a point in space which contains all other points." Aleph Trio, likewise, explores and exploits all points present within McDonnell's compositions on its self-titled debut EP.

Cyclical thoughts, complex colors, light and airy textures, and dark and brooding pathways are all present during this brief and compelling production. Some of the music is episodic and kaleidoscopic in nature ("The Ghats"), while other pieces are built around the idea of the ever-looping pattern or progression; McDonnell keeps the ears guessing where he'll go, and that proves to be a good thing.

McDonnell, bassist Ben Bastin and drummer Chris Packham all have a knack for light-touch playing ("A Walk In The Rain"), but take the knives out at the right time(s) ("Rue St. Dennis"). Bastin and McDonnell demonstrate a strong connection, whether supporting one another or engaging in musical discourse ("For Pa"), and Packham provides whatever is needed in a given scenario; sometimes that's a gently propulsive ride pattern and other times its a choppy and intense over-a-vamp solo. All three musicians always put the music before themselves, but they each get plenty of opportunities to shine.

These pieces, in general, could best be described as rhythmically and harmonically- charged mood paintings. Strong melodic content is of less importance to McDonnell than overall structural integrity, group interplay and the act of musical storytelling, but the music doesn't forsake melody altogether; melodic undercurrents are always in motion. McDonnell knows where he's going and where he's been, and he uses the Aleph Trio to explore that future-meets-past duality to the fullest.

Track Listing: A Walk In The Rain; Rue St. Dennis; For Pa; Dulcamara; The Ghats.

Personnel: Ben McDonnell: guitar; Ben Bastin: bass; Chris Packham: drums.

Title: Aleph Trio | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Pocket Tiger Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Rue St Dennis

Rue St Dennis

Ben McDonnell
Aleph Trio

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Aleph Trio

Aleph Trio

Pocket Tiger Records
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read My Singing Fingers CD/LP/Track Review
My Singing Fingers
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Ain't It Grand? CD/LP/Track Review
Ain't It Grand?
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 25, 2018
Read If Not Now, When? CD/LP/Track Review
If Not Now, When?
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Perfectly Unhappy CD/LP/Track Review
Perfectly Unhappy
by Gareth Thompson
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Sorrows & Triumphs CD/LP/Track Review
Sorrows & Triumphs
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 25, 2018
Read Half Light CD/LP/Track Review
Half Light
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 24, 2018
Read "Life On Earth" CD/LP/Track Review Life On Earth
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 18, 2018
Read "The Bug" CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "44/876" CD/LP/Track Review 44/876
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "Proverbe" CD/LP/Track Review Proverbe
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 15, 2017
Read "Caldera" CD/LP/Track Review Caldera
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 10, 2017
Read "Blues For Maggie" CD/LP/Track Review Blues For Maggie
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 7, 2018