158

Gordon Grdina / Gary Peacock / Paul Motian: Think Like the Waves

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Gordon Grdina / Gary Peacock / Paul Motian: Think Like the Waves Vancouver electric guitarist Gordon Grdina's tone is clean and low-treble; this creates a kind of dreamy effect, like Jim Hall's sound on his classic duet with Bill Evans, Undercurrent (Blue Note, 1962). And speaking of Evans, Grdina scores an impressive coup by recording this trio album in the company of two Evans alumni, bassist Gary Peacock (Grdina's teacher of several years) and drummer Paul Motian. This rhythmic dream team complements Grdina's gifts nicely.

The leader favors a mellow and meditative approach to the guitar, but while he might be tempted to ease into too-sweet lyric beauty, Motian can be counted on to add disquieting texture that prevents the proceedings from becoming dull. Peacock is right in between: ready to underscore his former student's song-like lines at one moment, but likewise willing to provide counterpoint to Motian's complex contributions at another moment.

Grdina's compositions build on these strengths: they are melodic, mysterious, nocturnal, just this side of mournful, and he prefers waltz tempos (as did Evans and Hall forty years ago, come to think of it). His soloing emerges subtly from the melodic statement of the composed themes. "100 Years" is an especially lovely example of all these elements. The track's title, furthermore, pays homage to Gabriel Garcia Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, an allusion that professes the link between the trio's music and the Colombian novelist's blend of bittersweet, dreamy reveries and florid magic realism. The claim may be a bit lofty, but it's not an unreasonable comparison.

The record sounds a little like some of Motian's recent experiments, notably Garden of Eden (ECM, 2006). (In fact, check out Budd Kopman's poetic comparison of the Motian disc to the aforementioned Latin American novel.) If anything, the smaller band makes it easier to hear the drummer's much-commented multidirectional but generally quiet playing, especially on "Yellow Spot into the Sun" and "Cobble Hill."

Then there's the oud, which Grdina plays on the title track and a few others. Grdina may not be the master player that Anouar Brahem is, but neither is he a dilettante: just listen to the crystalline solo prelude to "Morning Moon." Indeed, the trio oud tracks provide the kind of empathetic interplay and subtle transition between composition and improvisation that everyone but me seemed to hear in Brahem's oud trio record Le Voyage de Sahar (ECM, 2006).

Grdina's bandmates could probably sustain interest in just about any recording, but the leader's composition, soloing and musical conception more than hold their own in this august company.

Track Listing: Yellow Spot into the Sun; Different Places; Platform; Renunciation; Morning Moon; Ginger Root; 100 Years; Distant; Combustion; Think Like the Waves; Cobble Hill; Albert the Monk; String Quartet #6; Strathcona.

Personnel: Gordon Grdina: guitar, oud; Gary Peacock: bass; Paul Motian: drums.

Title: Think Like the Waves | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "2-Man Jazz Band" CD/LP/Track Review 2-Man Jazz Band
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Forage" CD/LP/Track Review Forage
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Pigs & Fairies" CD/LP/Track Review Pigs & Fairies
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Like Songs Like Moons" CD/LP/Track Review Like Songs Like Moons
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 13, 2017
Read "The Behemoth" CD/LP/Track Review The Behemoth
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Umbra" CD/LP/Track Review Umbra
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 31, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.