Saxophonist Chris Speed releases an album in a chord-less trio format entitled, Platinum on Tap on Skirl Records, a label dedicated to Brooklyn based creative music, now with over thirty-one releases. Speed is known for skirting the boundaries between: jazz, rock, electronic, classical and improvised music and the music on this project is in alignment with that visionary concept. Speed, revered for his compositions and commendable technical faculties within in small, medium-size and large ensemble, joins forces with bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Dave King. The three presents ten tracks on this expansive set, where avant-garde is fused into an organization of captivating and in some occurrences, mind-bending pieces, without any limiting factors.
The opening piece "Red Honk Nights," starts with Speed playing a melody unaccompanied. Eventually, Tordini and King join to create comprehensive musical event. The slow-tempo and relaxed playing by Speed with his breathy sound, creates a tranquil mood-evoking suggestion. Indeed, Speed is not in a rush to create sheets of sound here, instead, he plays with the simple melody to bring out subtle nuances for his musical statement.
The chord-less setting is not an unorthodox setting by any means, but it allows each player to be heard and take the lead, even if a little unorthodox in a melodic sense. "Arrival High" is a good example of this, King is the predominant driving force and Speed takes a melodic accompanist approach. At times austere and semi-classical, Speed does build the intensity during his solo as the three build the music to an intense jazz-based improvisation frenzy. They execute a relaxed version of the standard "Stardust." Speed states the melody is his staccato breathy type treatment, Tordini's rich bass sound is ever supportive underneath and underpins the harmony well. King's brush work is defined and keeps the space filled as Tordini solos. Tordini's solo is rich in melodic content and various harmonic progressions. This track is a good break in the action and will be a good starting point for the jazz fan not familiar with Speed's jazzy vocabulary and creative use of space.
Platinum on Tap flourishes with colorful hues and eloquently executed textures. From the avant perspective, this album is remarkably cogent and seamless by design. It's a layered storyline that aims to entertain in a musical way. Essentially, the trio sparkles with a striking approach that transmits a sense of newness via the combined effects of the three minds residing on the same melodious plane.
Red Hook Nights; Arrival High; Buffalo 15; Crossface Cradle; Pretty Much; Crooked Teeth; Platinum on Tap; Stardust; Torking; Spirits.
Chris Speed: saxophone; Chris Tordini: bass; Dave King: drums