13

Casey Golden Trio: Outliers

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Casey Golden Trio: Outliers In the past twenty years the jazz piano trio has branched out from the standards format into e.s.t..—influenced, virtuosity-leaning trios and song-based units like the Neil Cowley Trio and GoGo Penguin. Of course, that's not the full piano trio picture, but it's refreshing to come across an alternative to both the traditional American trio and the hordes of anthemic, pop and rock-influenced European models. With Outliers The Casey Golden Trio eschews typical rhythmic and melodic terrain, crafting a very tightly spun dynamic where the lines between head and improvisation are constantly blurred.

Pianist Golden came onto the radar with Clarity (Scrampion Records, 2010) though it was immediately after that he recruited bassist Bill Williams and drummer Ed Rodrigues. Five years seems like a long gestation period but the resulting music is certainly original. Golden's compositions—built on patient motivic development and repeating patterns—conjure an initial illusion of simplicity and predictability that fades on multiple plays. Minimalism and water-tight unison patterns on "Flatpack Empire" and its close relative "Outliers," for example, suggest through-composed discipline as the trio's abiding leit motif, but the control is bound up with greater individual freedoms that are based on wily seduction as opposed to trumpeting virtuosity.

There are no overt jazz references and if anything it's Golden's classical training that lends most color to his music, infused as it is with a baroque elegance. At the same time, Golden's threading together of little motifs and his toying with kernels of ideas echoes the spirit, though not the actual vocabulary, of Thelonious Monk. These two not unrelated worlds fuse on the folkloric "Home," the most expansive and free-reined tune of the set; Rodrigues dances around the beat, embellishing with percussive accents while first Golden and then Williams stretch out.

Arco and cajon add textural variation to "Paralyzed," which shifts between carefully structured repeating figures and limber improvisation. "Us or Them?" follows a similar pattern; rhythmic bustle and Golden's probing melodic navigation contrast with precisely executed collective unison lines. There's lyricism aplenty too, notably on "Recluse"—where Golden's flowing lines unfold with a Bach-like logic—and on "One of Two Places," which foregrounds the pianist's improvisatory élan over shifting percussive and rhythmic soundscapes; Williams nails his own colors briefly to the mast before the three musicians reunite on a helter skelter waltz to the finishing line.

The cover art, depicting asteroids, planets and exploding stars is by Marvel Comics artist Ron Frenz and serves as a striking metaphor for the highly structured yet occasionally random paths the music follows. The Casey Golden Trio may well be an outlier in terms of contemporary jazz piano trios, but there's much to ponder and plenty to marvel at in its very personal orbit.

Track Listing: Flatpack Empire; Outliers; Paralyzed; Home; Us or Them; Uncovered; Recluse; One of Two Places.

Personnel: Casey Golden: piano; Bill Williams: bass; Ed Rodrigues: drums/percussion.

Title: Outliers | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Scrampion Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Signaling" CD/LP/Track Review Signaling
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "Escualo" CD/LP/Track Review Escualo
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Rub Out The Word" CD/LP/Track Review Rub Out The Word
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Dreamland Mechanism" CD/LP/Track Review Dreamland Mechanism
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 10, 2016
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 5, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.