A guitar, bass, and drum jazz trio takes courage. While larger ensembles include a piano, organ, or even horn section to provide harmonic support, the leader of a guitar trio must make choices between harmonic and melodic lines. Of course these choices make some of the most wonderful moments in jazz.
Dave Mosick, a fresh guitarist out of Washington D.C., makes great choices in the trio setting on his album Amalgamation. More often than not, Mosick picks his spots wisely, knowing when to stretch out, lay back, and reinforce the harmonic structure of a song.
On an album consisting of about half original compositions and half standards, Mosick’s writing takes center stage. “Infinity,” a medium tempo waltz, begins pensive in mood and articulation, with an uplifting ending to the theme. “Simplicity” rambles along almost silly-like, settling into a nice swing for the first time through the form on the guitar solo. Bassist Eric Harper and Drummer John Greely are in top shape the second time through the form, counter punching Mosick’s increasingly frenzied lines.
The standards on Amalgamation yield mixed results. “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise” is positively beautiful, while “Corcovodo” misses the mark. On “Yesterdays” and “There is No Greater Love” Mosick pays proper tribute to the past with crisp performances.
Of course the album has its flaws. At times I wanted Mosick to really stretch out, and his rhythm section could have provided more punch. But overall, the recording is a solid effort. Considering Mosick's age and experience, it's a portent of great things to come.