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Dave Bass: The Trio, Vol. 3

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Dave Bass: The Trio, Vol. 3
For its third installment, pianist Dave Bass' regular working group has produced another worthwhile document drawing on Bass' many influences, and showing that he also has plenty of his own creativity to offer. Once again accompanied by bassist Kerry Kashiwagi and drummer Scott Gordon, and a few cameos from guitarist Barry Finnerty, the pianist proves his mettle as an agile and thoughtful interpreter of the jazz repertoire.

Just a few bars into the beguiling opener, "As Long as There's Music," the trio's empathetic tendencies are evident, with Gordon's subtle brushwork ushering along Bass' luscious harmonies and Kashiwagi's nimble inflections. Bass' lyricism radiates, and he refrains from overplaying, letting the melody guide his pensive reverie until the closing vamp gives him a few moments to stretch out a bit. He is just as compelling on pieces such as "Israel" and "If You Could See Me Now," both of which reveal a strong Bill Evans influence. He moves into a more angular mode to tackle Thelonious Monk's "Criss Cross" and "Played Twice," with a whimsicality which allows a more playful disposition to emerge. Kashiwagi's assertive walking bass on "Criss Cross" gives the pianist room to maneuver, and he takes advantage of it with a rangy solo which Gordon expertly navigates alongside him. "Played Twice" shows Bass' willingness to cede ground to his partners, as Kashiwagi gets the first opportunity for a crafty solo before Bass jumps in with his own, and Gordon is provided with some space of his own to let loose.

Unfortunately, the most intriguing cut on the album is also its briefest, as Annette Peacock's "Blood" is given an evocative three- minute treatment which is played impressionistically, without fixed meter. Kashiwagi's searching arco and Gordon's freedom from timekeeping enable Bass to venture outward, and his solo is quite imaginative. It would have been enticing to hear a bit more of the trio in this less-encumbered spirit.

Bass' own compositions are also winners. "Endless Waltz" has a poignant melody, traced with delicate grace by the pianist, and "Another Ending" is an infectious Latin-flavored piece with another strong theme. The latter also features Finnerty, who gets three tunes here. While the guitarist brings a gritty urgency to his energetic solo on "Another Ending," he is sometimes in danger of overpowering the other two pieces: both Bass' "Agenbite of Inwit" and Astor Piazzolla's "Libertango" have an edgy, almost aggressive dimension which is incompatible with the prevailing feel of the album. But, that quibble aside, Bass has created some first-rate jazz on his third trio album, and it gives us ample reason to anticipate Vol. 4.

Track Listing

As Long As There's Music; Criss Cross; Endless Waltz; Agenbite Of Inwit; With A Song In My Heart; El Ciego; Israel; Blood; If You Could See Me Now; Played Twice; Libertango; Another Ending.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Barry Finnerty: guitar (4, 11, 12).

Album information

Title: The Trio Vol. 3 | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Dave Bass Music


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