Pianist Angelica Sanchez has become an in demand side person since her move to NYC from Arizona in 1995, performing with Wadada Leo Smith, Tony Malaby, Kevin Norton, Harris Eisenstadt, and Susie Ibarra, among many others. But her own leadership discography remains slighter than might be expected. Surprisingly Float The Edge represents her first entry as part of a traditional piano trio. As if to make amends, Sanchez has recruited strong players in bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, each established bandleaders in their own right, and she consequently grants them a lot of space.
Her eight charts facilitate such largesse as she favors minimalist themes which emerge unexpectedly out of open interplay, in an approach born out of the Bill Evans/Paul Bley school of egalitarian trio exchange. In fact Formanek appears almost as prominent as Sanchez, although Sorey as a sensitive accompanist is the epitome of restraint. Sanchez herself veers from percussive on the short title track, where her jabbing chords partake in nervy give and take with Formanek's skittering arco and Sorey's restless rumble, to almost lyrical on the first freewheeling then brooding "Pyramid."
The highpoint comes with "Substance Of We Feeling" which shows the whole group at its best, full of urgency and electric communication. Formanek's raggedy pizzicato intro settles into a pulsating thrum with Sorey's martial brushwork and the leader's sparse piano theme. Sanchez shines with reiterated Morse code strokes and glinting runs, as the bassist's nimble counterpoint shadows her trajectory, before resolving into a walking groove, with boppish piano. Elsewhere "Hypnagogia" demonstrates an atmospheric textural ambience, while "What The Birds Tell Me" is more dramatic but equally spacious.
Overall it's an understated set, distinguished by the talented threesome's deep listening-fuelled subtle interaction.
Shapishico; Float The Edge; Pyramid; Substance Of We Feeling; Hypnagogia; What The Birds Tell Me; The Traveler; Black Flutter.
Angelica Sanchez: piano; Michael Formanek: double bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums.