Drummer Dave King's major fame and fortunethough mostly fame; this is, after all, jazz we're talking aboutcomes from his work with The Bad Plus
. That particular modern piano trio can go loud, combining elements of pop and rock while delving into the avant-garde side of jazz. TBP has been described as bombastic, but King doesn't limit himself to his main gig. He works in several side projects, and for his I've Been Ringing You
, he joins up with fellow Minnesotans, pianist Bill Carrothers
and bassist Billy Peterson
, who blend their talents on a distinctive set of Great American Songbook standards and familiar tunes.
Recorded in four hours in a rented church in his home state, the trio set out to create a dark, moody atmosphere, opening with Gordon Jenkins' classic "Goodbye," perhaps the world's saddest song, covered so well by pianist Bobo Stenson
(ECM, 2005), and by on pianist Keith Jarrett
's duo record with bassist Charlie Haden Jasmine
(ECM Records, 2010). King opens the tune with his "waterphone," an eerie, resonant whine, into which Carrothers chimes. The piano sound is intimate and immediate, with a hint of an echoing murk, the individual bristles on David King's scratching, whispering brushes almost countable.
The always mesmerizing melody of alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman
's "Lonely Woman" gets slowed down, with Carrothers injecting a dark sparkle. King stumbles into Cole Porter
's "So In Love," the trio sounding relaxed and looselike the best sessions laid down relatively quickly by top level players. Carrothers careens a bit, a pianist who seems to veer toward rolling out of control in the quicker tempos, but he never does. He's also a perfect pick for the chosen atmosphere, a player who can slow things down until time seems to nearly stop. His take on the Depression era tune, "Brother Can You Spare a Dime," on his I Love Paris
(Pirouet Records, 2005), is a small masterpiece of the slow marinating of a familiar melody, as is this trio's take on the much-covered "If I Should Lose You."
King's trio closes with a group improvisation; a mournful and hauntingly beautiful ballad that stands well with the standards, the trio sounds, collectively, as if it has lost a great love, ending I've Been Ringing You
on a somber, tear-inducing note.