86

Rick Stone Trio: Fractals

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Rick Stone Trio: Fractals Trio recordings hold a special place in jazz. Bass and drums, teaming with a piano or guitar, give the front man the most room for instrumental self expression (saxophone out front is a different matter). Though he may not be the busiest of guitarists in terms of recording, with a good stretch of time between Samba de Novembre (Jazzland, 2004) and Fractals, Rick Stone shines in the format. Teaching at Jazzmobile and Hofstra, and playing regularly around New York City ensure that his chops remain as razor sharp as ever.

Stone's approach is decidedly straight-ahead, in the manner fellow guitarists Jim Hall and the late Wes Montgomery. He is a fine tunesmith, too, though he opens Fractals with a familiar standard, "Stella By Starlight." The song starts off darkly, but then the stars rise, and Stone takes the melody on a sprightly run, with an inspired section of improvisation. Bassist Marco Panascia and drummer Tom Pollard are mostly understated—more backing the leader than interacting—though they do get their chances show off their solo prowess in short, succinct turns.

The trio flies a bit freer on the title tune, a Stone original with sharper edges on the angles of his sound, and more bounce in the rhythm. The mood shifts to the exuberant side on "Key Lime Pie," leading into a lovely, laidback take on the familiar Jimmy Van Heusen/Eddie DeLange classic, "Darn That Dream." The bass/drum accompaniment is just a whisper, as Stone patiently unfolds his re-harmonization of this beautiful tune.

Stone's "Speed Bump" rolls with an easy swing along a straight bebop groove, and his "Nacho Momma's Blues" finds the guitarist riding the momentum of Pollard's sizzling cymbals on the most modern sounding tune of the set.

In the "surprise category," the trio offers up "Ballad for Very Sad Lotus Eaters," a rare jewel from the pen of composer, pianist and Duke Ellington's alter ego Billy Strayhorn. It is a delicately lovely ballad taken at a deliberate pace to be savored, contrasting nicely with Stone's set-closing "The Phrygerator," with a medium-heat, forward-leaning and tightly wound sound wrapping up this first-rate set of jazz guitar.

Track Listing: Stella By Starlight; Fractals; Key Lime Pie; Darn That Dream; Scoby; Nacho Mama's Blues; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; Places Left Behind; Speed Bump; Ballad for Very Sad Lotus Eaters; The Phrygerator.

Personnel: Rick Stone: guitar; Marco Panascia: bass; Tom Pollard: drums.

Title: Fractals | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Jazzand


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Sleight Of Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Sleight Of Hand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "Blind Curves and Box Canyons" CD/LP/Track Review Blind Curves and Box Canyons
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 4, 2017
Read "Heavy Weather" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Weather
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Disappeared Behind the Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by Troy Collins
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Beauty Within" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty Within
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 1, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.