Twenty-five years running, the Kandinsky Trio bridges many gaps and overlays numerous musical perimeters via a thoroughly hip stance. Here, the trio records two suite-like compositions by John D'Earth who is the University of Virginia's Director of Jazz Studies, and a contributor to 50 recordings, including stints with Buddy Rich, Tito Puente and the Kronos Quartet. They also perform one extended piece by fabled composer and New England Conservatory luminary, Gunther Schuller. Of particular note is the inclusion of jazz guitar-slinger Kurt Rosenwinkel on D'Earth's, "Natural Bridge."
"Natural Bridge" is a pulsating an exquisitely harmonious comp that contains six distinct works, woven into a far-reaching jazz and chamber type setting. Rosenwinkel's jazz voicings offer episodic stylizations of counterpoint amid empathetic storylines with the trio's sinuous staccato phrasings and quixotic melodies. Even though the composition is built on memorable themes, replete with endearing exchanges and sublime sentiment, the instrumentalists occasionally gel within an open-forum. They whirl through catchy ostinatos and a segmentfirmly planted by Paul Langosch's walking bass linesused as a vehicle for Rosenwinkel's fluid, jazz-centric soloing spots. Warm shadings and one passage concocted on a Caribbean motif evolve into punctuated stop/start cadenzas and briskly flowing unison notes.
Among other positives, the musicians' plush harmonic content, superfine artistry and cross-genre articulations generate a program that should be suitable for mass market consumption since the classical element is not immersed in austerity. They open up quite a few doors by enunciating the best of many musical worlds with a smooth integration of disparate outlooks that transcend the typical output evidenced by similar ensembles or projects. There's a little bit of everything for everyone on this superfine engagement.
Personnel: Benedict Goodfriend: violin; Alan Weinstein: cello, cello percussion;
Elizabeth Bachelder: piano. Guests – Paul Langosch: bass; Kurt