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Ron Thomas Trio: Impatience

Dan Bilawsky By

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A brief glance at pianist Ron Thomas' website is enlightening, to say the least. He chronicles his life there, providing a detailed biography, a rundown of commercially available compositions, a list of his colleagues, mp3 files, a discography, essays, videos, photos, teaching information, and a list of influences, with names both familiar (Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock) and relatively unknown (Ron Dewar, Dennis Sandole) to many jazz fans and musicians. But to really get to know Thomas, you need only spend time with his music. Just listening to the way he tinkers with a phrase, manipulates an idea, or lays into a passage on this album provides insight into who Ron Thomas really is.

Impatience isn't nearly as hurried, brusque, or agitated as the title might imply. There's certainly motion behind these musical notions, but the Ron Thomas trio never seems to be burdened or hampered by thoughts of getting on with things; this group seems content to live in the moment without worrying about where it has to be down the line, and each moment finds this trio working and walking along different avenues. There are thoughtful nods to Evans and his pliable trio(s) ("You Must Believe In Spring" and Evans' "Time Remembered"); Thomas originals that spring from the seeds of standards ("Things You Were") or bounce along ("The Red Carpet"); worshipful wonders that highlight the beauty inherent in sacred music ("Ave Maria"); and contributions from drummer Chris Loser, both funky ("Makers Of Fine") and flowing ("Week 42") in nature.

In fleshing out these compositions, Thomas and company manage to highlight their simpatico sensibilites. Note the way Thomas, Loser, and bassist Steve Meashey blend, speak, and interact. They're three men having a conversation in melody, rhythm, and harmony, not two men backing a third at a piano bench. Even the mix speaks to that ideal. A good number of piano trio dates put the piano too high in the mix and bury bassists so far back that they sound like they're in another dimension. But not this one. Meashey's bass cozies up to Loser's kit and embraces Thomas' piano, and Thomas moves in the thick of things, not above the fray. This is a group effort and it shows, most notably on the title track. In the mere five-and-half-minutes that it takes to hear that number, the Ron Thomas Trio speaks of substance, subtlety, solidity, and sympathy. So just imagine what wonders this group is able to reveal across the entire album.

Track Listing: The Red Carpet; You Must Believe in Spring; Things You Were; Ave Maria (Bach-Gounod); Makers of Fine; Time Remembered; Impatience; Week 42.

Personnel: Ron Thomas: piano; Steve Meashey: bass; Chris Loser: drums.

Title: Impatience | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Vectordisc Records

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