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On the surface it might not make much sense for a trio album to be dubbed Four On The Road, but there's a story behind that fuzzy math. In 2015, while on the road in Spain touring in support of his previous trio date, Gone (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2014), bassist David Ambrosio encountered the pixelated throwback designs of the famed street artist simply known as Invader. His creations became a constant companion during Ambrosio's group's time in the city of Bilbao, popping up here and there while taking on the role of a fourth member of the travelling party. And while this album's Russ Meissner-penned title track isn't meant to reference thatAmbrosio's liner essay points out that the song was written prior to the tourit took on such an association in Ambrosio's mind. Hence the title and the appearance of said art on the cover.
That fourth presence obviously wasn't involved in the music making here, nor do these three men, who delight in the art of interplay, need any outside help. Ambrosio, Meissner, and alto saxophonist Loren Stillman have known each other since the '90s, forged strong bonds in the intervening years, proven their unassuming powers with Gone, and logged plane and road miles together. In short, they're ideal musical companions with plenty of history. That connectivity is evident across this entire program. Each man pulls his weight, contributes on the compositional front, and plays to the scene and dynamics set forth by his partners.
These three are all about aiding and abetting in a positively creative sense, adding ready support while also encouraging one another to flex their intentions. The album-opening "Way Too Long So Far"Ambrosio's contrafact on Jerome Kern's "Long Ago And Far Away"and the sly title track both make that clear in their swinging brilliance. But when things get loose(r), as on the leader's "Melody" and much of Stillman's "Legroom," this unit truly shines in the light of interactive engagement. David Ambrosio and his trio mates are to be commended for creating music that challenges while remaining largely accessible.
Way Too Long So Far; Fabulous Free; Melody; Four On The Road; Legroom; Sunset Bird.
David Ambrosio: bass; Loren Stillman: alto saxophone; Russ Meissner: drums.