All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
50 years ago, modern jazz piano trios would barely be recognizable to the majority of their counterpartsexcept perhaps Bill Evans' trio. Today, cutting-edge jazz trios require interaction between players and expect both drummer and bassist to be more than just disciples. Trio leaders such as Jason Moran, John Escreet, Matthew Shipp all write and perform their music as a three-way conversation. Add to that list, London-based pianist Jonathan Gee.
The disc opens with the propulsive "Beyond." Gee's piano runs, chest-bumping against the zealous vigor of Waits attack. This heady music clears the sinuses and opens up the lungs. If it weren't for the amazing communication between players, songs like "Black Ball" would seemed prejudiced and rocky. But, with Lepore's pulse, and he isn't in the business of keeping time, the maelstrom is contained and Gee's message is coherent. In fact, it swings very, very hard.
Like Moran, Gee composes with a sense of both jazz canon and contemporary sounds. He can lift a sweet melody such as "Tortadilla" and transition from a hummed blues melody into bits and pieces of acrobatics. Often, Gee's sleight-of-hand involves the blues. He negotiates a modern sounding "Cream Of Mandarins" with a fleeting passage of blues and two-handed attack, all the while with Waits in full agitation mode. The cross-roads meeting with Lepore is all to service the tune.
The summation of this trio is in Monk's "We See." Gee negotiates the track as if he is taking shorthandhopping, skipping and jumping as he accelerates across the melody. It's modern, it's Monk, and it's a three-way conversation.
Track Listing: Beyond; Dragonfly; Black Ball; Tortadilla; Cream Of Mandarins;
Yellow Ball; We See; Cicada.
Personnel: Jonathan Gee: piano; Joseph Lepore: double bass; Nasheet Wait: drums.
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me. Try as I might, I was never able to achieve a high enough level of competency to perform at the level I was first and subsequently exposed to. Regardless, I was hooked on jazz and remain so to this day.