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CEO Experiment: CEO Experiment

Ian Patterson By

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CEO Experiment's eponymous debut, merging jazz's more traditional roots with a modern aesthetic, is proof not only of a fine trio in the making but also of Dublin's thriving cosmopolitan jazz scene. Born of a jam session in The International Bar—one of the city's most renowned jazz sanctuaries—in 2013, the palpable chemistry felt that day between Hungarian electric bassist Peter Erdei, Venezuelan pianist/keyboard player Leopoldo Osio and Peruvian drummer Cote Calmet engendered what surely ranks now as one of Ireland's most exciting young jazz trios. Whilst the music here breaks few moulds, fine original compositions and excellent musicianship add up to an impressive initial calling card.

An array of keyboard textures, industrious yet nuanced drumming and flowing bass-lines characterize the music throughout, though the trio shifts its weight around so that the music never falls into a familiar rut. Osio and Calmet's Latin grooves and Erdei's simmering bass lines infuse "Ceo Experience," with veteran saxophonist Michael Buckley lending his explorative yet melodic signature. The Latin tinge on these eight tracks is felt rather than overtly stated, much in the same way Calmet's Peruvian-influenced rhythms subtly spice his multi-national jazz quintet Phisqa which also features Osio. Buckley shines on "Transported"—a Yellowjackets-esque power-ballad of persuasive charms—and on "Labyrinth" too, the trio's closest brush with swinging post-bop, where Calmet's expansive bustle drives Buckley's charged solo.

Whilst Buckley's interventions suggest that CEO Experiment could yet excel as a quartet, it's the trio interplay that really grabs the attention. Osio steers the ship on "Portrait," a memorable tune founded on a repeating piano motif. On this self-penned tune the Venezuelan demonstrates his facility first on piano and then on electric keys, with Erdei's formidable chops also to the fore. Calmet's rhythms mirror the tensions as they escalate and finally dissipate. There's a buoyant, 1970s jazz-funk vibe about "Arithmos," with Osio's rhythmic electric piano and swirling synthesizers the protagonists, as Erdei and Calmet maintain a vibrant groove.

The trio's chemistry is no less pronounced on slower material such as the brief ballad "Nossa Historia"; Osio seduces with a light touch while Erdei, and Calmet on brushes, lend empathetic support. There's greater collective energy on "Affinity," where a languid bass line constrasts with Osio's passion and Calmet's fiery propulsion. And just when you think you've got CEO Experiment figured out, it grabs you with "Sunbeam" a winning, electronic dance-cum-jazz mash-up that serves as a sign-post for the sort of adventurous musical terrain that perhaps beckons ahead.

In racing terminology, CEO Experiment has got off to a flying start, though there's a feeling that the trio is searching for the right line. Nevertheless, this is a highly satisfying debut that holds the promise of greater things—and perhaps greater experimentation—to come.

Track Listing: Ceo Experience; Portrait; Transported; Labyrinth; Arithmos; Nossa Historia; Affinity; Sunbeam.

Personnel: Leopoldo Osio: piano, keyboards; Peter Erdei: electric bass; Cote Calmet: drums; Michael Buckley: saxophone (1, 3-4)

Title: CEO Experiment | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced

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