126

The Vinson Valega Trio: Consilience

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Contrary to popular belief, it's not always size that matters. This is definitely true of the jazz trio. The combination of connection, interaction, and execution can produce magic in the hands of just three focused musicians just as well as a large ensemble. Jazz great Bill Evans sums the goal of the jazz trio as follows: "Especially, I want my work, and the trios if possible, to sing."

Consilience features the Vinson Valega Trio: drummer Vinson Valega, saxophonist/flutist Anton Denner, and bassist Gary Wang. Based in New York, each musician has an extensive resume with names such as Clark Terry, Ray Charles, Grover Washington, Jr., and Terrell Stafford. From round the block, they also bring a dynamic, energetic, and fertile approach to their new recording, which covers standards and new material.

From the onset, one of the first things to grab the listener's attention is the wall of sound the trio produces. Valega's "d-ruminations" are colorful and deliberate as every part of his kit is skillfully used. Gary Wang's bass is robust and precise with excellent solo spotlights. Saxophonist Anton Denner plays with feeling, maturity, and freedom on alto and soprano saxophones, as well as flute. Their tightness as a unit is clearly evident but what is also clear is their ability to keep the music relative and alive.

A good case in point is observed in their selection and execution of old and new material. On the trio's remake of the 1950 Irvin Berlin classic "The Best Thing For You Would Be Me" the selection opens with a two and a half-minute drum and sax solo spar that would wake up the dead. The bass enters the fray swinging with the melody as the drum and sax skillfully give way to a closing and purposeful bass solo.

On Valega's "Long and Wrong" the composition starts with a funky bass and drum line. Denner provides soulful and probing soloing as the melody morphs into a power swing tempo with the rhythm section supporting the transition, which smoothly changes back to its original rhythm.

The trio's depth of material covers selections by Billy Strayhorn's "Blood Count," Andrew Hill's "Black Fire," and a beautiful rendition of Michel LeGrand's "You Must Believe in Spring" which features impressive bowing by Wang and Denner on flute. Valega's trio is to be commended for the quality, seriousness, and performance on this classy recording. This attitude is aptly expressed in their liner quote by anthropologist Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed people can change the world."

Or in this case, produce fine music.

Visit Consilience on the web.

Track Listing: 1. Jiminy Cricket Goes To The Go-Go Dance 2. The Best Thing For You Would Be Me 3. You're Nearer 4. Stumble Monk 5. Tide Pools 6. Long & Wrong 7. Blood Count 8. Black Fire 9. New Haven 10. Fuggedaboutit 11. Jiminy Cricket Goes To The Go-Go Dance 12. You Must Believe In Spring 13. Secret Love

Personnel: Vinson Valega - Drums Anton Denner - Alto and Soprano Saxophones, Flute Gary Wang - Bass

Title: Consilience | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Consilience Productions

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

A Moment of Silence

A Moment of Silence

Vinson Valega
Biophilia

The Trend Is Your Friend

The Trend Is Your Friend

Vinson Valega
Awake

Album Reviews
Liner Notes
Take Five With...
Album Reviews
  • Awake by Mark F. Turner
Megaphone
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Biophilia

Biophilia

Consilience Productions
2010

buy
Awake

Awake

Consilience Productions
2007

buy
Consilience

Consilience

Consilience Productions
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read This Should Be Fun Album Reviews
This Should Be Fun
By David A. Orthmann
April 20, 2019
Read Transoceanico Album Reviews
Transoceanico
By Patrick Burnette
April 20, 2019
Read Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection Album Reviews
Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 20, 2019
Read Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972 Album Reviews
Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972
By John Kelman
April 19, 2019
Read HUJE 2018 Album Reviews
HUJE 2018
By Jack Bowers
April 19, 2019
Read Farallon Album Reviews
Farallon
By Jerome Wilson
April 19, 2019
Read Burning Meditation Album Reviews
Burning Meditation
By John Sharpe
April 18, 2019