1

Bill Mays Inventions Trio: Life's a Movie

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
For pianist Bill Mays' Inventions Trio, the third time is indeed a charm, as it would be difficult to find music more charming than that performed by Mays, trumpeter Marvin Stamm and cellist Alisa Horn on Life's a Movie, the trio's third album together (and first for Chiaroscuro Records). This is "chamber jazz" of the highest order, with the classically trained Horn complementing perfectly the jazz-inflected sorties of Mays and Stamm in a program whose beauty is equaled only by its earnestness.

The centerpiece is Mays' four-part suite Life's a Movie: 4 Cues in Search of a Film, which follows a four-part homage to Bill Evans and precedes Juaquin Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez," Chick Corea's sunny "Spain" (based in part on Rodrigo's theme) and a third suite, this one a salute to Thelonious Monk. Mays comes by his "movie cues" naturally, having worked in Hollywood studios for more than a decade, during which time he appeared on hundreds of soundtracks. The trio plays it seamlessly, with Mays' muscular piano setting the tone, Stamm and Horn adding color and nuance wherever needed. The suite is comprised of a melodious "Main Title," haunting "Love Theme Bittersweet," high-spirited (and clamorous) "Chase" and rhythmically opulent "End Credits."

Mays performs Evans' "My Bells" by himself, and is joined by the others on "Interplay," "Turn Out the Stars" and the endearing "Waltz for Debby." Stamm, always a pleasure to hear, is at his improvisational best on one of the more arduous numbers, Monk's "Trinkle Tinkle," as well as on the fast-moving "Spain." He switches to muted trumpet on the opening passages of the easygoing "Pannonica," then delivers a brief but cogent statement (in front of Mays' thundering piano) on "Straight, No Chaser." Horn, who we're told has learned to improvise and loves the challenge, has an extended solo here, sounding much like a member of France's storied Hot Club. Some of her best work comes when she plucks the cello like a bass, lending Mays and Stamm unwavering support. Her arco cello is especially inspiring on "Concierto de Aranjuez."

This is a trio whose members clearly enjoy what they are doing, in all likelihood because they do it so well and love being together. Their camaraderie is readily apparent on Life's a Movie, as is the expertise of three musicians who seem able in effect to read each other's minds. The lone caveat: Mays' two-fisted piano is sometimes too prominent in the mix. Aside from that, about as persuasive as trio jazz can be.

Track Listing: Homage to Bill Evans (My Bells / Interplay / Turn Out the Stars / Waltz for Debby); Life’s a Movie: 4 Cues in Search of a Film (Main Title / Love Theme Bittersweet / Chase / End Credits); Concierto de Aranjuez; Monk Tribute (Trinkle Tinkle / Pannonica / Straight, No Chaser).

Personnel: Bill Mays: piano; Marvin Stamm: trumpet, flugelhorn; Alisa Horn: cello.

Title: Life's a Movie | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Chiaroscuro Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read The Princess CD/LP/Track Review The Princess
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Queen City Blues CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Latin Lover CD/LP/Track Review Latin Lover
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Reclamation CD/LP/Track Review Reclamation
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Signs" CD/LP/Track Review Signs
by Doug Collette
Published: September 10, 2017
Read "Exosphere" CD/LP/Track Review Exosphere
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "66 67" CD/LP/Track Review 66 67
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 9, 2017
Read "A Meeting Of Spirits" CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Agrima" CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor