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Alex Koo: Appleblueseagreen

Dan McClenaghan By

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The Belgian/Japanese pianist/composer Alex Koo enlisted a pair of first call allstars, saxophonist Mark Turner and trumpeter Ralph Alessi, forming an acoustic chamber trio that brings his vision to life on Appleblueseagreen. The title is taken from the literal translation of the Flemish word "appelblauwzeegroen," to describe a color of ambiguous personality. The music is cinematic, with the first three tunes, "enuD," "Dune" and "Funeral March," giving off a vibe of deep, ruminative sadness, like a soundtrack to the aftermath of a tragedy, the calm after an apocalypse.

Koo plays piano, keys and drums. His guests, saxophonist Turner and trumpeter Alessi, enter the scene on the disc's third offering, "Funeral March," painting a haunted landscape, a chilly fog clinging to the ground, the trees bereft of leaves. "Ghost Parade" retains the mood, conjuring images of translucent figures drifting just above the cold earth.

Taken as a whole, the music's mood flows in a fluid, ECM Records, chamber jazz mode, with an otherworldly quality, though "Etude No. 1: Mirror, Mirror on The Wall," a piano solo, prances, and the brief "Bodily Fluid" features brash horn work. "Etude No. 3" is a delicately rendered, classical-sounding piece, with Koo's supple touch on full display. The title tune searches the color spectrum and, like much of the set, mixes in a dozen shades of grey, before brighter hues are introduced on the set's closer, the majestic "Freedom Pilot," closing out a fine debut.

Track Listing: enuD; Dune; Funeral March; Ghost Parade; Etude No. 1 Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall; Dormilon; Bodily Fluids; Etude No. 2 The Gaze; The Lone Wanderer; Etude No. 3; Apples Are Blue But the Sea Is Green; Freedom Pilot.

Personnel: Alex Koo: piano; Mark Turner: saxophone; Ralph Alessi: trumpet.

Title: Appleblueseagreen | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Clever Tree Records

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