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Refraction: Inerrant Space

Mark Sullivan By

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Refraction is an Australian piano trio led by drummer Chris Broomhead, who also composed most of the music. He is joined by pianist Brenton Foster (who contributes two tunes) and double bassist Jordan Tarento. Inerrant Space definitely does not sound like a "drummer's album." It's very much a group sound, as the collective group name implies. Broomhead makes his mark by his writing and sensitive playing: there are no drum solos.

The music is bright, lyrical and impressionistic, along the lines of the more extroverted ECM artists like the Tord Gustavsen Quartet and Stefano Bollani. The brief title tune (the only one co-composed by the entire group) serves as an atmospheric scene-setter. "329" opens with arpeggiated chords, then builds a structure around them. Tarento's bass solo segues into a bridge with a melody doubled by the piano.

Pianist Foster's compositions take the band into slightly more conventional piano trio territory. "All To Do" includes the closest thing to a drum solo, as Broomhead plays freely under the closing vamp. "Kodak Hill" has a melodic and rhythmic structure reminiscent of Chick Corea. Other memorable tracks include the ballad "Rest, Regain" and "Cosmic Orphan" with its rhapsodic, rubato opening featuring arco bass. Closer "Boho Church" has a gospel feel, as implied by the title. It brings to mind another ECM reference, the many Keith Jarrett pieces with that feel. A fitting close to a thoroughly enjoyable album by a group with their own voice.

Track Listing: Inerrant Space; 329; Never Since; All To Do; Rest, Regain; Kodak Hill; Departure; Echoes; Cosmic Orphan; Boho Church.

Personnel: Chris Broomhead: drums; Brenton Foster: piano; Jordan Tarento: double bass.

Title: Inerrant Space | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Rare Colour Records

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