A jazz trio named Autobahn, from Toronto, Canada, with an unusual make-uppiano, sax and drumsis just asking to called "experimental" on their modernistic recording, Of The Tree. And why not? Eliminating the bass (the obvious missing link) makes for new atmospheres, and creates new spaces. Looking for comparisons, Momentum Space (Verve Records, 1999), a masterpiece of the sparsely-populated piano/sax/drums genre by free jazz piano legend Cecil Taylor, saxophonist Dewey Redman and drummer Elvin Jones, is one that comes to minda set that pushed the limits of that brand of trio sound.
Up The Tree pushes limits in its own way, with a dark and abstract chamber rumination on the disc's opener, "Grounded," before shifting into a hellbent, careening groove of "Primrose Princess (Part 1)," that could be a soundtrack for a car that's lost it steering, down bound on a mountain road. "Tribute," with reed man Jeff LaRochelle shifting to the rich tones of bass clarinet alongside the glistening piano work of James Hill, and Ian Wright's for whom-the-bell-tolls drums, sounds like music from another planet, or dream. "Forgiveness" is a celebration, in an almost mainstream way, with some inspired interplay, with a great melody that sounds as though it trying out for the jazz standard competition, and rising to the top of the contest. "Roots" is a La Rochelle's satisfying tenor saxophone solo honk-fest, and "Reverie" does justice to its titlea piece of searching, introspective beauty.
Coming up with an original sound is one of the hardest things to do in jazz, or in any art form, for that matter. Autobahn has done that nicely, with their consistently-compelling Of The Tree.
Grounded; Primrose Princess, Part I; Tribute; Forgiveness, Roots; Reverie; Interlude; Glass; Slow Dance; Bird Flight; Primrose Princess, Part II; Airborne.
James Hill: piano; Jeff DeRochelle: tenor sax and bass clarinet; Ian Wright: drums.
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.