Pianist John Bickerton declares...”I am no “young lion” and am happy not to be one. I learned about jazz in the 1970s and the groove then was to find your own sound, that was the premium ”. Well, on his debut release for the Leo Lab label, “The John Bickerton Trio” effectively illustrate an altogether stylistic approach thanks to Bickerton’s uncanny melding of melody into a somewhat anatomic albeit fresh compositional approach. Shadow Boxes is all about weaving clusters surrounded by well-stated themes as Mr. Bickerton often utilizes heavy handed block chords complete with poignant lyricism along with avant-garde tendencies witnessed on the opening piece, “Answers Not Asked”. Bickerton performs as though he were belting out torch songs behind the keys. A vocalist trapped within a modern jazz pianist’s body? Perhaps – yet Bickerton performs with a great degree of emphasis and enthusiasm amid the swirling almost circular rhythms provided by bassist Matthew Heyner and drummer Rashid Bakr. “Spirit World” is daunting and ominous performed within the free jazz scheme of things. Here Bickerton plucks the piano strings along with Heyner’s delightful and effective arco-bass performances as the overall tone of this composition seems to capture one’s personal interpretation of the spirit world as The Trio open the doors to imagination and imagery. “Cortege” sounds like some sort of mutant dance theme thanks to Bakr’s off center samba beat and Heyner’s forceful arco-bass work. On this piece, Bickerton suggests a subliminal melody line along with clever rhythmic developments. Bickerton provides the listener with clues pr pieces of the puzzle. A sharp approach to your – not so standard piano trio format. “Aviary Breakout” adheres to the conversational nature of modern or free jazz incorporating various tempi, themes and moods, which continues into the final track, “Meeting After Dark”.
John Bickerton is a fine pianist! Plenty of absorbing and interesting ideas as the band maintain a pleasing and sonorous flow throughout. From the onset it becomes quite apparent that Bickerton has done his homework as we wholeheartedly agree with his statements with regards to -finding his own, distinctive voice as a musician. On that note, we anxiously await Mr. Bickerton’s next move! Recommended.
Answers Not Asked; Spirit World; Stilts & Pirouettes; Cortege; Shadow Boxes;
Divining Rod; Aviary Breakout; Meeting After Dark.
John Bickerton: piano; Matthew Heyner: bass; Rashid Bakr: drums.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.