Melbourne-based piano trio Refraction follows up Inerrant Space (Rare Colour Records, 2016) with another collection of mostly original music. Drummer Chris Broomhead again composed most of the selections, with one contribution from bassist Jordan Tarento (nothing from pianist Brenton Foster this time out) and a surprise cover of Joni Mitchell's "Amelia" from her album Hejira (Asylum, 1976). Opener "Provenance" eases in slowly with an unaccompanied ostinato pattern, joined by bass, then cymbals. Once the tune gets going it is a pastoral, folk song-like tune, recalling pianist Keith Jarrett. Tarento's "Human People" is very much a trio piece, but it includes an extended, lyrical bass solo by the composer. It's common for jazz covers of contemporary pop songs to be upbeat affairs, often a contrast to the original music on the album. But "Amelia" is true to the tone of the original: if anything it is even more languid, including an extended coda that basically repeats the chord sequence of the verse. "In Regard" follows it with an upbeat, singable melody. It actually sounds more like a pop song than the Joni Mitchell cover. The last part of the program includes three tunes that could be described as "ECM ballads." "Plainsong," "Means of Grace" and "Ika" are all atmospheric, with plenty of rubato playing. The title tune closes with a sprightly, almost Celtic melody, like a reela nice contrast to the preceding tracks. Reimagined finds the trio exploring the same general impressionistic sound world as their previous release. But this time there is a sense of broader possibilities, and the contrasts are greater. I look forward to hearing future developments.
Provenance; Human People; Amelia; In Regard; Plainsong; Myriad; Means Of Grace;
Chris Broomhead: drums; Brenton Foster: piano; Jordan Tarento: double bass.
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