177

Uri Caine Trio: Siren

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Siren is the first studio recording to feature pianist Uri Caine leading a traditional acoustic trio since 1998's Blue Wail (Winter & Winter). Since then, most of Caine's albums have alternated between radical reinterpretations of the work of revered classical composers like Beethoven, Mozart and Schummann, and the heavily amplified funk excursions of his Bedrock trio with bassist Tim Lefebvre and drummer Zach Danziger. Stripped down to their basic foundations however, most of Caine's efforts typically revolve around the classic piano trio format. Bassist Drew Gress and drummer Ben Perowsky have been Caine's primary accomplices in this configuration, last documented on Live at the Village Vanguard (Winter & Winter, 2004). Maintaining a semblance of consistency, Perowsky returns for this sublime session, with John Hébert filling the bass chair.

An eclectic artist of catholic taste, Caine is by turns ruminative or animated; his fluid single note runs transition gracefully from hushed filigrees to boisterous arpeggios, leading Hébert and Perowsky through the chromatic progressions and modulating tempos of eleven diverse originals and one classic cover. Working as one, the trio's congenial rapport is suffused with an omnipresent blues feeling that pervades each of their interpretations—from a rapturous cover of "On Green Dolphin Street" to the impressionistic languor of "Hazy Lazy Crazy."

A neo-traditionalist at heart, Caine alludes to his abiding interest in pre-swing styles like ragtime and stride throughout the date—as demonstrated by the cascading intervals of "Interloper." Reveling in the joys of unfettered swing, the trio digs deep into the bluesy fatback grooves of "Crossbow" and the oblique angles of "Calibrated Thickness" with palpable fervor. They hint at stylistic interests beyond the mainstream, navigating multiple time signatures on the funky "Tarshish" and ebullient Latin rhythms on "Manual Defile," with no piece exceeding six minutes. Each of these compact tunes serves as a self-contained model of brevity, encouraging pointedly concise statements from Caine, Hébert and Perowsky.

Bolstered by astute listening skills, the trio's intimate three-way dialogues offer inventive interpretations of established traditions, the understated stylistic shifts providing a cohesive sensibility to the proceedings. The trio's mastery of dynamics enriches the quality of its harmonious discourse; Hébert's eloquent precision makes him an ideal partner for Perowsky, whose responsive dexterity encourages the leader's full range of expressionism—from the heartbreaking balladry of the introspective "Foolish Me" to the audacious freeform interludes of "Free Lunch." Siren is a welcome return to form for Caine, whose recent endeavors have highlighted his compositional skills more often than his improvisational mettle.

Track Listing: Tarshish; Interloper; Siren; Crossbow; Smelly; Succubus; Green Dolphin Street; Foolish Me; Calibrated Thickness; Hazy Lazy Crazy; Free Lunch; Manual Defile.

Personnel: Uri Caine: piano; John Hébert: bass; Ben Perowsky: drums.

Title: Siren | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Winter & Winter


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Live 1972" CD/LP/Track Review Live 1972
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 5, 2017
Read "Rediscovered Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 29, 2017
Read "Storm" CD/LP/Track Review Storm
by Jim Olin
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Picking Order" CD/LP/Track Review Picking Order
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "Neko" CD/LP/Track Review Neko
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 2, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.