2

Ben McDonnell: Aleph Trio

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Ben McDonnell: Aleph Trio
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.

Album information

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

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Tread Lightly
Trøen Arnesen Quartet
MMBC Terma
Michael Bisio / MMBC
Koki Solo
Natsuki Tamura
Colibri Rojo
Camilia Nebbia
Shapeshifters
Reuter / Motzer / Grohowski
Tales From The Jacquard
Julian Siegel Jazz Orchestra

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.