Trio Linguae: Signals

Jack Bowers By

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Trio Linguae: Signals
Signals introduces the snug and simpatico Trio Linguae ("lin-gwee") from western Canada whose unusual makeup (trumpet, guitar, piano) doesn't hinder it from painting a series of shapely and pleasing portraits in sound. Trumpeter Kevin Woods had been performing with his compatriots—pianist Miles Black, guitarist John Stowell—for more than a decade but never before on the same stage. Aligning them together, which was not Woods' original plan, proved to be a master stroke, as they entwine in unison like the proverbial hand in glove.

Nine of the album's eleven selections are original compositions: four by Woods, two by Black, one each by Bill Evans ("Peri's Scope"), Antonio Carlos Jobim ("Inutil Paisagem") and Wayne Shorter ("Virgo"). The remaining themes, from the Great American Songbook, are among the loveliest ever written: "I Hear a Rhapsody," which closes the session, and Harold Arlen's "My Shining Hour." Even in the face of that competition, the melodies by Woods and Black hold their ground, and Woods' buoyant "Big T's" even earns a well-deserved niche on the ample highlight reel. Woods plays trumpet, open or muted, and flugelhorn, awakening in most instances memories of the late great Chet Baker who is no doubt a direct precursor and perhaps a primal influence.

Stowell, who is listed as playing on every number, is prominent on some, almost inaudible on others, but always supportive and tasteful, while Black is an able soloist and accompanist in the image of the aforementioned Bill Evans and other masters such as Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Barron and George Cables, to name only three. If there is a misstep it is on "I Hear a Rhapsody," wherein the trio insist on dancing around the changes instead of allowing the exquisite melody to speak for itself. But that's a minor gaffe in an otherwise splendid sequence of charmers, and it does come at the very end. It's hardly enough to mar an impressive debut by three talented musicians who give rise, as their opening number asserts, to "No Regrets," nor should they have any in the afterglow of an opening performance that surely deserves an encore.

Track Listing

Few Regrets; Solo en Viento Sabe; Peri’s Scope; Signals; My Shining Hour; Since Last December; Big T’s; Inutil Paisagem; One for B.E.; Virgo; I Hear a Rhapsody.


Kevin Woods: trumpet; John Stowell: guitar; Miles Black: piano.

Album information

Title: Signals | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Origin Records

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