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Benedikt Jahnel Trio: The Invariant

Karl Ackermann By

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The Invariant, as in a "constant," is a fitting title for Benedikt Jahnel Trio who have recorded as a unit since their debut Modular Concepts (Material label, 2008) and later moving on to the ECM label with Equilibrium (2012). Jahnel, a musician and mathematician in Berlin, has a deep appreciation for complex similarities between the two disciplines and he reveals an ability to peel away the superficial elements to tinker with the inner workings of the music.

Canadian native—now Brooklyn resident—drummer Owen Howard has led his own group as well as playing with Dave Holland, Joe Lovano, John Abercrombie, Dave Liebman and a host of other well-known artists. The Spanish bassist Antonio Miguel has been performing professionally since the age of sixteen. He had studied with Chick Corea, Christian McBride, John Patitucci and Francois Moutin and—like Howard—has performed with Liebman and Abercrombie as well as Fred Hersch and Paquito D'Rivera.

Knowing his trio-mates as well as he does allows Jahnel to tailor his compositions to match their strengths. He continues to develop creative concepts around irregular meters and layering of sounds as on the opening piece "Further Consequences." Jahnel's lightning-fast piano propels "Mirrors" initially, before the piece takes a precipitous drop in tempo with Miguel's deep, woody bass solo. Accented by a superb solo from Howard, the appealingly off-kilter "Part of the Game" opens with a torrent of piano notes, in a piece that is in direct contrast to the gentle balladry of "For the Encore." "Interpolation One" has Miguel and Jahnel working independently, knit together by Howard's intricate direction.

The compositions on The Invariant include pieces the Jahnel has developed over the past five years though there is a consistency across the program that points toward a more focused pattern of creativity. As dominant as the pianist's play can be—and often is—the album is clearly a democratic model where all the artists have the opportunity to display their considerable talents.

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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