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Benedikt Jahnel Trio: The Invariant

David Rocheleau-Houle By

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The Invariant is the third album from the Benedikt Jahnel Trio and its second album on ECM Records. The Invariant follows Modular Concepts, released in 2008 on Material Records, and Equilibrium, released in 2012 on ECM. The trio remains intact with German pianist Benedikt Jahnel, Spanish double bassist Antonio Miguel, and Canadian drummer Owen Howard.

Two features of the The Invariant are striking and shape the entire album. The first is the quality of the musical conservation the members of the trio entertain, conversation during which sounds and silence hold nearly in perfect balance—something that was already apparent on Equilibrium.

Jahnel and Howard met in Germany, when the former was studying at the University of Arts in Berlin where the latter was teaching. Jahnel and Howard reconnected when the pianist pursued his studies at City College New York between 2005 and 2007; Howard being based in Brooklyn for many years. It is in New York they met the missing piece of the trio: Miguel, the double bassist.

The Invariant resonates the comfort and ease the members of the trio have with each other, something particularly true on "Mirrors"—the third and longest track of the album—where everything just feels right. There are things that only time and proximity can give you, and how Jahnel, Howard, and Miguel are unfolding this composition is revealing of the strength of their relationship.

The second striking feature of The Invariant is how mature Jahnel's compositions are. These compositions are the result of the best of the sessions and live performances the trio had since the publication of Equilibrium. It is then with substantial compositions that Jahnel, Howard, and Miguel began the recording session of The Invariant in April 2016, at Rainbow Studio in Olso.

Even if the sound of the Benedikt Jahnel Trio may occasionally suffer from a lack of spontaneity, Jahnel's compositions are nevertheless effective, strong and swingy. "Part of the Game," the fifth track on the album, is the most moving composition of Jahnel on The Invariant, with a catchy and light piano line supported marvelously by Howard and Miguel.

Track Listing: Further Consequences; The Circuit; Mirrors; Mono Lake; Part Of The Game; For The Encore; Interpolation One; En passant.

Personnel: Benedikt Jahnel: piano; Antonio Miguel: bass; Owen Howard: drums.

Title: The Invariant | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: ECM Records

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