If is such a short and simple title for a CD, and this one features a piano trio performing the music in a simple configuration: piano/bass/drums. But nothing's ever as simple as it seems. The classic piano trio offerings range from quirky, angular and oddly logical Thelonious Monk sets to the bounce of Bud Powell, the introspection and almost surreal, delicate beauty of Bill Evans, the powerhouse attack of McCoy Tyner, and more.
Turkish-born pianist Fahir Atakoglu brings an assertive and exotic approach to the piano trio format, blending a geographical mixture that includes the sounds of his own homeland, drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez's native Cuba, and bassist Anthony Jackson's New York state of mind.
The disc opens with the "El Negro"-driven fury of the title tune, a propulsive beauty filled with Atakoglu's unique harmonic sense enmeshed in the bass/drum attack. "Anadolu" features Turkish rhythmic and melodic motifs, oddly grooving in 14/8 time. "About Autumn (Seasons Change)" features the ubiquitous Donny McCaslin on soprano saxophone, looking inward, while "Spur of the Night" finds him on tart-sounding tenor sax in a groove-oriented, Turkish-tinged hard-driver.
Atokoglu composed all the tunes on If. A very original melodic approach flows through the always interesting and often intense rhythmic drives, taking this piano trio to places that you've probably never been before.