Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Spike Wilner Trio: Contrafactus


Spike Wilner Trio: Contrafactus


Sign in to view read count
Spike Wilner Trio: Contrafactus
Pianist Spike Wilner, bassist Paul Gill and drummer Anthony Pinciotti have crafted an exquisite jazz listening experience in their release Contrafactus. Recorded in a single session, with only one take at GB's Juke Joint, the spontaneity and cohesion of the trio are manifest throughout the eleven compositions which seamlessly blend Wilner's original compositions with some better-known standards.

The album opens with a Wilner original, "At First Blush," which is a lively and infectious swinger. Wilner dashes up and down the keyboard, showing he can dazzle. Gill and Pinciotti are a rakish rhythmic duo filled with unflagging energy. Another Wilner original, the title track, "Contrafactus," is charged with bristling energy. Wilner's piano work is captivating, with an unwavering sense of rhythm. All the while, Gill and Pinciotti anchor his efforts with a sturdy foundation and impeccable timekeeping.

From the start of this release, the trio's chemistry is apparent as they navigate through intricate melodies and spirited improvisations with impressive ease. For example, the old jazz standard "Poor Butterfly," written by John Golden and Raymond Hubbell, is delivered sensitively, with Wilner offering waves of imaginative single-note playing. At the same time, the rhythmic duo shows expressive flexibility throughout. Wilner continues to showcase his versatility as a composer and pianist with his composition "Koan"; his pianism is filled with urgent enthusiasm, and he engages in a series of exchanges with Pinciotti in a knockabout manner. Not to be outdone, Gill fashions an arco solo with a burly tone.

Another excellent moment of the release is the interpretation of "Lullaby Of The Leaves"; Wilner's empathetic touch and expressive phrasing provide an evocative harmonic coloration to the composition. The closing track is another Wilner composition, appropriately called "Happy Ending." The number dances along helter-skelter as Wilner covers the keyboard with sparkling intensity. Pinciotti provides muscular and decisive support. More than just a collection of songs, this album is a singular achievement highlighting the trio's artistry.

Track Listing

At First Blush; Contrafactus; Kinetic Neurosis; Ants Go Marching; Poor Butterfly; Cognitive Dissonance; Koan; If You Are But A Dream; Mind Games; Lullaby Of The Leaves; Happy Ending


Paul Gill
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Contrafactus | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Cellar Music Group



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.