A group like the Danny Fox Trio and an album like The Great Nostalgist both serve as strong reminders that there's no shortcut for building empathy and there's no technological advancement in the world that can substitute for big ears, strong reflexes, and their attendant responses. Togetherness is truly a time-honed ideal, and music benefits not from what captures and/or manipulates it, but from whence it comes.
Rather than follow modern-day recording conventions for this one, Fox and company cut the other way and recorded live to tape in the living room of a century-old home in the Catskills. There, free of most of the tech-cum-distractions that often influence recording outcomes, this trio was able to properly tap into times past while playing in the moment. The ten tracks that came out of the experience are a testament to that fact.
Sounds and stories are practically on equal footing across this program. "Jewish Cowboy (The Real Josh Geller)," shaped by Fox's early exposure to bluegrass music, carries itself with a caffeinated country vibe and a touch of uncertainty; "Truant," born in bouts between being thrown out of a practice room in college, proves true to logical development and disjointed origins; "Emotional Baggage Carousel," forming in a moment's thought at JFK Airport's Terminal 4, alludes to some other time in misty-eyed fashion before settling into a sanguine space; and "Old Wash World," referencing Fox's laundromat of yore and taking piano cues from a voice memo, is built atop gleeful, rinse-cycle grooves. Whether looking back at formative experiences or rooting around in seemingly trivial occurrences, Fox manages to find the perfect seed material and the right tools to help those ideas in the growth department.
This album arrives as Fox, bassist Chris van Voorst van Beest, and drummer Max Goldman celebrate a decade of existence as a working unit. Every minute, hour, day, month, and year that these three men have spent together shapes and fuels this music in fascinating ways. Cycling motifs, quick shifts in direction and temperament, pliable gestures, idiosyncratic thoughts, and intelligent design all come together in organic fashion as the Danny Fox Trio combs through the recesses of time and memory to create music that manages to be personal and universal in its expressions, and evocative yet current in tone.
Adult Joe; Theme For Gloomy Bear; Jewish Cowboy (The Real Josh Geller); Cookie Puss Prize; Truant; Caterpillar Serenade; Preamble; Fat Frog; Emotional Baggage Carousel; Old Wash World.
Danny Fox: piano; Chris van Voorst van Beest; Max Goldman: drums.