Mario Pavone: Blue Dialect

Mark Corroto By

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Gone are the days where a jazz trio maintains a three month residency, playing nightly in a club. Nor are there world traveling units that refine their skills nightly on the road, working and reworking material. There will be no more piano trios led by the likes of Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans. But have no fear, there are combinations, encounters, and partnerships that come together with just the players to make special music.

Bassist Mario Pavone's new Trio Dialect with pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Tyshawn Sorey is one of those magical meetings. Pavone, a bassist extraordinaire, has kept time for players like Thomas Chapin, Anthony Braxton, Paul Bley, Bill Dixon, Michael Musillami, and Wadada Leo Smith, to name just a few. He has led groups, including his Orange Double Tenor, Arc Quartet, previous trios, the Arc Trio with Craig Taborn and Gerald Cleaver, and a collaboration with Peter Madsen and Matt Wilson.

Like his other bands, Pavone writes music that passes around the leadership duties. Heard here, in a blindfold test, one might identify this as a piano or drummer-led trio. The construction here is of an equal sided triangle. Pavone culls music from previous discs, like two tracks "Xapo" and "Zines" from his Septet record Deez to Blues (Playscape, 2006). His partners seem up for anything. "Language" gallops from the start line, Sorey's solo takes off on the repetitive theme before Pavone's solo deconstructs the piece, and finally Mitchell enters to pick through the corpse. His piano, quite the original sound, can be heard with Tim Berne's Snakeoil, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Dave Douglas's bands.

Where this trio shines is in the devilish groove they conjure. Pavone's "Reflections" isn't a cover of the same tune by Thelonious Monk, but it does share the high priest's penchant for angles and off-kilter time. "Two One" threatens a 4/4 swing only to play off a deceptive counter. Sorey's drums which can be heard with Myra Melford, Kris Davis, Roscoe Mitchell, John Escreet, and Steve Lehman always seem to recreate the drums' role from time keeping to melody making and, here, musical commentator.

Pavone's strength seems to be his knack for assembling sympathetic groups that just seem to blend together to create challenging and engaging music. It is scary to think what this band would sound like if they played together every night.

Track Listing: Suitcase in Savannah; Xapo; Reflections; Two One; Zines; Silver Print; Language; Trio Dialect; Blue.

Personnel: Mario Pavone: double bass; Matt Mitchell: piano; Tyshawn Sorey: drums.

Title: Blue Dialect | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Clean Feed Records


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