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Drummer Steve Grover may or may not be a practicing Buddhist, but he plays drums with a lightness and clarity that my friends doing daily Buddhist meditation might well envy. The title cut on this engaging album is a strikingly original Grover composition where the trio members sound like they are breathing together with a kind of musical and spiritual unity rarely heard in studios or concert stages. Pianist Frank Carlberg, while sounding influenced at times by Keith Jarrett or Mike Nock, contributes a heady impressionism to Grover's nine original open-ended tunes, and bassist Chris Van Voorst Van Beest is as nimble and musically adroit a player as one could wish for in this setting.
The meditational image that came to mind when I first heard this album – and that impression lingers – has much to do with the extraordinary delicacy with which Grover plays. He gives a great deal of solo space to Carlberg throughout the album, but every Grover solo is developed with a crystaline logic that never seems to spotlight his ego as much as the music's necessary flow. The nine compositions tend to flow into one another, with a cameo on the final tune by talented tenor saxophonist Andrew Rathbun a crowning touch.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.