Featuring the building blocks of free improvisation and an earthy rock music persuasion, London based guitarist Ben McDonnell presents his engaging Aleph Trio, a bold set that's both aesthetically pure and melodically pleasing. Its in-the-moment vibe feels like a live studio recording that highlights the trio's vigor, inventiveness, and cohesiveness.
The set maintains its intimacy and rawness found in the opener "A Walk In The Rain" where McDonnell's deft facility of combining complex chord structures, exploring runs, and nifty harmonic finger taps reveal an accomplished artist/composer that can combine memorable songs with edgy themes as evinced in "Rue St Dennis" which shifts into an infectious groove-hook and plenty of open space for his trio mates to explore the changes.
The trio's craggy core is solidified by the gifts of each member, whether found in bassist Ben Bastin's spot-on accompaniment of McDonnell, and in turn, his own muscular yet empathetic solo in tracks such as "For Pa" or drummer Chris Packham's finely crafted cymbal work in "Dulcamara" which closes with him delivering a raucous solo over a satisfying repeating vamp.
Some production gloss is presented in the atmospheric closer "The Ghats" which contains the same qualities of the previous tracks but also incorporates the expanse of percussion and electronics as the trio cranks up the volume and shreds a colorful tune that sounds like a fusion inspired by Pat Metheny, Jimi Hendrix and South Indian music. With only five compositions, the program is short, but packs nice punch.
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.
Year Released: 2013
| Record Label: Self Produced
| Style: Modern Jazz
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.