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Spiral Trio: Broken Blue

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Spiral Trio: Broken Blue
Pianist Spyros Manesis, bassist Arionas Gyftakis and drummer Anastasios Gouliaris came together as Spiral Trio in 2011 at the Athenaeum Conservatory in Athens. Manesis was teaching there, Gyftakis and Goulapis were studying. But there is no hint of hierarchy on Broken Blue where a genuine sense of egalitarian adventure defines the music. The trio has come some way since its standards-dominated debut, Spiral Trio (ANKh Music Productions, 2017), its sophomore recording featuring only one non-original—the surest sign of growing collective confidence.

Acknowledged influences on the trio's approach include Paul Bley, Keith Jarrett, Paul Motian and Steve Lacy, so it is perhaps no surprise that the trio's modus operandi revolves around rhythmically agile, open dialogues where lyricism, abstraction and impressionism are all part of its improvising currency. And in Manesis vocabulary there are also shades of Bill Evans's romanticism, particularly on a brace of brushes-steered ballads, the pianist's "Rubicon"—a bold album-opening gambit—and a gossamer reading of Michel Legrand's "Once Upon A Summertime." For all its credentials as a modern jazz combo, Spiral Trio is not afraid to embrace beauty and delicacy.

When the trio gets into its stride the sparks fly. Bebop and the blues color the dynamic title track, while the playful angularity of "Bipolar," featuring a terrific Manesis solo, feels like a thinly disguised homage to Thelonious Monk. In the main, however, the music occupies post-bop terrain, and it is when casting loose of conventions that the trio sounds like it has most to say. "Ding Dong" juxtaposes bass and piano in unaccompanied solos of brooding intensity, while album highlight "Blue Flower" follows a surging modal course.

With clear thought to the emotional contours behind track sequencing, and in marked contrast to the romance of the opening ballad, the spare impressionism of "Portrait in Yellow" closes the album on an intimate, melancholy and somewhat restless note.

Broken Blue is a mature statement from a finely attuned trio whose continuing evolution holds the promise of even greater things to come.

Track Listing

Rubicon; Hig; Broken Blue; Once upon a Summertime; Bipolar; Ding Dong; Blue Flower; Portrait in Yellow.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Broken Blue | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Odradek Records


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