Only a few months after releasing her debut solo EPThrough The Hours (Self Produced, 2017)the London-based Australian pianist and composer Meg Morley releases her first trio album, Can't Get Started, in the company of bassist Richard Sadler and drummer Emiliano Caroselli. Through The Hours was an impressive debut, showcasing Morley's ability to conjure up varied moods and at times unsettling atmospheres. Can't Get Started takes things further, expanding her thematic ideas and taking full advantage of the contributions of Sadler and Caroselli.
The tunes are all Morley compositions. "Rush Hour" appeared on Through The Hours: this version retains the solo piano opening, but the intensity that follows is heightened by Sadler and Caroselli, with Sadler in particular creating the sensation that aggression is just under the surface. Morley starts "Caged" softly but as the tune builds a real sense of tension developsa combination of Morley's increasingly urgent piano and the gradually-building intensity of the bass and drums. To this classically-untutored reviewer "Invention In D" seems to owe a debt to Bach, or at least Jacques Loussier: Sadler's fluid bass lines are a special delight.
"Life Coaching" eventually lopes along to a relaxed, reggae-infused beat after Morley's solo intro and a free moving first section. "Can't Get Started" belies its title by getting started from beat one. The strong, rhythmic, groove is reminiscent of the Neil Cowley Trio (of which Sadler was once a member)the brief but driving "Polly (Part 1)" has a similar feel. Caroselli opens "D.C.M" with tom-toms then switches from mallets to brushes to provide a gentle underpinning for Morley's piano. "Meandering" is another tune that belies its title: it's a flowing and melodic number that always seems to know where it's going. "Folk Hymn" and "Song Without Words" close out the album: two gentle, mid-tempo, tunes although "Folk Hymn" has moments of tension while the lyrical "Song Without Words" is a much sweeter composition.
In a matter of months, Morley has produced two impressive recordings (alongside her work as an accompanist for silent movies and at the English National Ballet School). Sadler and Caroselli give her music an added depth, making this group one of the most exciting on the current UK scene. Australia's loss is the UK's gainthe Meg Morley Trio has the potential to make an impact on the wider jazz scene too.
Can't Get Started; D.C.M.; Caged; Meandering; Rush Hour; Polly (Part 1); Life Coaching; Invention in D; Folk Hymn;
Song Without Words.
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