99

Trio M: The Guest House

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Trio M: The Guest House Historically, the most revered jazz piano trios tend to erase the distinction between leader and accompanist; empathetic listening skills and quicksilver responsiveness enable adroit performers to spontaneously shape the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic contours of the music in democratic fashion. The esteemed Trio M, whose personnel boasts pianist Myra Melford, bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Matt Wilson, is one such collective. Though Melford's return to the classic acoustic trio format that established her reputation in the early 1990s is notable, Trio M is a true cooperative; the leaderless group uniformly divides composing and improvising duties.

What makes this trio of equals unique is its ability to integrate disparate forms with a singularly organic sensibility. Unbound by notions of genre or style, Trio M's sophomore effort, The Guest House, expands on its stellar 2006 debut, Big Picture (Cryptogramophone), encapsulating myriad moods that range from atmospheric impressionism to abstract expressionism. While the basic elements are familiar (earthy blues, free jazz deconstructions, neo-classical frameworks), the quixotic logic that connects them is far more arcane.

As adherents of Dresser's "Telematic" improvising concept, Melford and Dresser have developed a virtually telepathic rapport in recent years, yet Wilson's keen contributions are no less clairvoyant. The drummer's infectious energy elevates the bandstand, whether galloping through the jaunty bop of his beguiling homage "Don Knotts" or sauntering behind the beat of Dresser's languid, but deceptively complex swinger, "Kind of Nine." Melford's intrepid virtuosity is consistently breathtaking, whether lilting through the euphonious changes of the Zimbabwean-themed "Ekoneni" or navigating the angular intervals of "The Promised Land" with atonal abandon. Dresser's contributions are equally revelatory; his extended bowing technique repeatedly transcends conventional tonality with a scintillating display of coruscating harmonics.

Unfettered diversity is the Trio's key attribute, and although the threesome's vigorous exchanges are immediately appealing, it's only one facet of their talents. Encompassing a full range of dynamics, the bluesy title track is both accessible and challenging, suddenly shifting from celebratory fanfare to somber dirge at the coda. Wilson's "Hope (for the Cause)," dedicated to the cancer relief organization Relay for Life, is the date's most lyrical ballad, ebbing with pellucid piano ruminations, doleful arco glissandi and atmospheric cymbal washes. The episodic "Tele Mojo" embodies the best of both worlds, gradually modulating from harmonious aleatoric discourse to an expansively rhapsodic excursion that dramatically builds to a bristling free-form climax.

The Guest House offers an impressive overview of Trio M's capabilities, from the introspective musings of Melford's Rumi poetry-inspired "Even Birds Have Homes (to return to)" to the gospelized fervor of Wilson's rousing Albert Ayler tribute, "Al." Liberally informed by past traditions and bolstered by spirited interplay, Melford, Dresser and Wilson's thrillingly unpredictable performances update the venerable piano trio tradition with bold invention.


Track Listing: The Guest House; Don Knotts; Kind Of Nine; Sat Nam; Hope (for the Cause); The Promised Land; Tele Mojo; Al; Even Birds Have Homes (to return to); Ekoneni.

Personnel: Myra Melford: piano; Mark Dresser: bass; Matt Wilson: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Enja Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "New Spring - Live At The Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review New Spring - Live At The Village Vanguard
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Born In An Urban Ruin" CD/LP/Track Review Born In An Urban Ruin
by John Sharpe
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Escualo" CD/LP/Track Review Escualo
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Sélébéyone" CD/LP/Track Review Sélébéyone
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "Playgrounds" CD/LP/Track Review Playgrounds
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Forgiveness Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Forgiveness Suite
by John Sharpe
Published: November 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!