The "MUH" in the MUH Trio is an acronym depicting the surnames of its members, pianist Roberto Magris, bassist Frantisek Uhlir and drummer Jaromír Helešic. Magris is from Italy, Uhlir and Helesic from the Czech Republic. A Step Into Light isn't their first walk around the block; they've been working together on and off for years, and recorded an earlier album, Prague After Dark, also for JMood Records, in 2016.
That experience pays dividends, as the trio's patterns are smooth and seamless throughoutnot an uncommon trait, as the same holds true for most working trios these days. Magris, who is responsible for much of the album's melodic content, carries out that assignment with warmth and perception, while Uhlir and Helesic scrupulously govern its rhythmic aspects. As for the music, it consists of four original compositions by Magris, three by Uhlir and one credited to the trio as a whole, alongside Bobby Troup's "The Meaning of the Blues," Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love" and Billy Strayhorn's poignant "Lush Life" (one of the session's several high points).
The trio's "Our Blues" is another clear winner, with everyone swinging in concert and Magris delivering another in a series of engaging solos, before stepping aside for another by Uhlir followed by crisp four-bar exchanges with Helesic. The same holds true for the session's last tune, Magris' "Here We Are," whose bright melody and buoyant rhythms provide a perfect capstone. That counterbalances a gentle start in which the trio treads rather more lightly on Magris' "A Step Into Light" and "Meaning of the Blues" before bringing the heat on "What Is This Thing." Uhlir's "Waltz for Sonny" again accentuates the trio's mellow side, as do the last of Magris' compositions, "Continued Light" and the charming samba, "Italy." Uhlir adds the finishing touches with his graceful "Giulio" and breezy "Bosa Cosa."
A Step Into Light blends pleasing variety with solid rapport and astute solos. You can't ask for more than that from any trio.
A Step Into Light; The Meaning of the Blues; What is this thing Called Love; Waltz for Sonny; Continued Light; Italy; Giulio; Lush Life; Our Blues; Here We Are.