All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

203

Peter James Trio: Soul Story

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Soul Story is the second album from the Peter James Trio, and it's an outstanding work. Its combination of superb musicianship and keyboardist James' beautifully-crafted tunes ensures that the band can lay claim to a place in the top flight of piano trios. The passion and melodic sensibility displayed across the album further strengthens this claim.

All three musicians studied together during the early '90s at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and their mutual understanding and empathy comes over strongly. Soul Story follows on from the Trio's 2008 debut, Visions And Vistas (Mulberry Tree Music), and the additional experience gained over the intervening years is put to good use by each member of the group. James is the composer, but bassist Jeremy Brown and drummer Thomas Hooper do much to give the music life. The result is a genuine ensemble recording.

The trio is equally adept at upbeat tunes with a swing and slower, more reflective, numbers. "Everyday Mountains" and "Warmth Of The Morning Sun" showcase the musicians' gentler side. So, too, does the delightful "If The Hills Told Their Secrets," an excellent example of the trio's strength as an ensemble. It begins with Brown's melodic but melancholy arco bass, Hooper driving the rhythm with relaxed but commanding percussion, and James adding to the tune's rich sound with some understated Hammond organ. "Walk In The Park"—named, according to James, because of its relatively straightforward nature, when compared to most of the album—has a feel-good, bluesy, New Orleans sensibility. This time, Brown combines melody with a funky groove, while Hooper keeps time with militaristic flair.

The central composition is "Soul Story," a 20-minute suite in four parts. "Soul Story (intro)" is a solo piano piece, James' strong left hand rhythm giving the tune toughness, while never obscuring the beauty of the melody. Hooper then kicks "Soul Story (part 1)" up a gear with some emphatic percussion, while James adds a gospel feel on Hammond. The up-tempo, lyrical, "Soul Story (part 3)" brings the suite to a positive conclusion.

"Soul Story" is a beautiful album, a gem that shines bright even among the many talented piano trios in contemporary British jazz. James' compositions are strongly melodic, imaginative and evocative, and The Peter James Trio a band with high musical ambitions—and the talent to achieve them.

Track Listing: Ocean's Lament; Everyday Mountains; Headlong; If the Hills Told Their Secrets; Walk In The Park; Back Against The Wall; Soul Story (intro); Soul Story (part 1); Soul Story (part 2); Soul Story (part 3); Warmth Of The Morning Sun.

Personnel: Peter James: piano, Hammond organ; Jeremy Brown: bass: Thomas Hooper: drums, percussion.

Title: Soul Story | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Mulberry Tree Music

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Soul Story

Soul Story

Mulberry Tree Music
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Out in the Open CD/LP/Track Review
Out in the Open
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Contemporary Chaos Practices CD/LP/Track Review
Contemporary Chaos Practices
by Don Phipps
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Changed Beings CD/LP/Track Review
Changed Beings
by Chris May
Published: November 16, 2018
Read We Must Mustn't We CD/LP/Track Review
We Must Mustn't We
by John Sharpe
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One That Is You. CD/LP/Track Review
Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One...
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "The Poetry of Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review The Poetry of Jazz
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 20, 2018
Read "Wrong Turns And Dead Ends" CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Afloat" CD/LP/Track Review Afloat
by Gareth Thompson
Published: November 25, 2017
Read "Open Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Open Borders
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Meltdown (Live in Mexico City)" CD/LP/Track Review Meltdown (Live in Mexico City)
by John Kelman
Published: October 13, 2018
Read "Arise!" CD/LP/Track Review Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018