6

Michael McNeill Trio: Passageways

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Michael McNeill Trio: Passageways Michael McNeill's debut as a leader introduces a fresh perspective to the popular piano trio format. His compositions don't progress in a linear manner, nor do they strive to settle on time-tested harmonic or rhythmic structures; instead, they insistently explore the sonic possibilities within the immediate, fragile and equal interplay that the Buffalo, NY-based pianist-composer has with his improvisation-experienced trio mates, double bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Phil Haynes.

McNeill has a mature, personal voice, developed through a wide range of experiences, including with trumpeter Maynard Ferguson alumnus, baritone saxophonist Bruce Johnstone, and crossover ensembles led by percussionist Ravi Padmanabha. His compositions apply open-ended, jazz-based improvisational techniques to the format of the Indian raga. After sketching the skeletal lines of a composition, the trio patiently explores its various aspects both simultaneously and separately, until reaching a common climax.

The twenty-minute opening, "Hold On," stresses this approach. Filiano creates tense interplay with his confident, reserved arco work, amidst fractured rhythmic patterns and spare piano lines. Later, McNeill lessens this tension with an impressionistic solo that is transformed into a conventional yet fiery trio improvisation with a clear chord progression that concludes when Filiano, once again, leads with arco solo.

"Nobody's Waltz," "Prelude—Metropolis" and "Exit Now" have even looser structures, their progression shifting according to the immediate articulations of all three musicians without an attempt to tie them into any obvious pattern. This approach demand fast thinking and a rich musical language that allows the trio to color the material with imagination and passion, encompassing these free form abstractions within a cohesive envelope. Only the closing "I'm OK Now" follows a touching melodic theme, delivered in a beautiful and elegant manner.

McNeill is an exceptional composer and player, with a debut that sets a high standard for those yet to come.


Track Listing: Hold On; Nobody's Waltz; Prelude - Metropolis; Exit Now; I'm OK Now.

Personnel: Michael McNeill: piano; Ken Filiano: bass; Phil Haynes: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Magia" CD/LP/Track Review Magia
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "The Quest: Live at the A.P.C." CD/LP/Track Review The Quest: Live at the A.P.C.
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Malamute" CD/LP/Track Review Malamute
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Unstatic" CD/LP/Track Review Unstatic
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Habana Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review Habana Dreams
by James Nadal
Published: July 5, 2016
Read "Black Shuck" CD/LP/Track Review Black Shuck
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!