Minnesota pianist Chris Lomheim in 2013 began applying for grants for the funding of a new project when he realized that 2014 would mark the twentieth anniversary of his very first trio CD And You've Been Waiting (IGMOD Records, 1994). As such, the pianist decided to move forward with or without grant funding and put together a new album of originals in celebration of that first recording and reuniting once again with original band mates, bassist Gordon Johnson and drummer Jay Epstein. Their third album together, Timeline was produced after three sessions between March and April of 2014 recording nine new originals and one previously unrecorded composition from 1982. The result, unquestionably one of the finest piano trio recordings on the jazz landscape today.
The spacious classically-tinged title track starts the celebration going with Lomheim's dominate piano lines introducing the piece as Epstein's crashing cymbals surge in strong fashion yet, not overpowering enough to diminish the tender nature of the piece. Bassist Johnson delivers some terrific solo moments on the following "Theme for a Ride," nevertheless this one has a bit of the Bill Evans flavor to it and it's the leader who emerges with some fine chops here despite Epstein's splendid drum solos. The trio turns a tad somber on the delicate "Into the Hills," a delicate ballad featuring Johnson on another extended crisp bass solo.
In 2005 Lomheim met singer Emily Green fell head over heels and have been married ever since. The compositions "For Emily" and "Green Again" are dedications to the vocalist/wife and provides some of the best piano solo moments of the date demonstrating once again, Lomheim's remarkable musicianship. "Remembrance" is a brief but beautiful light ballad followed by Epstein's percussive beat work on the other brief, but this time burner type, "To Feel or Not to Feel."
In one of the more memorable highlights of this album, the gorgeous "Lullaby" features the pianist at his best. Other bright moments here can be found on "Solidarity" and the warm-toned "Dedication," the finale piece that brings the celebration to an end. Though it has taken some time for Chris Lomheim and fellow cast members of this dynamic trio, to come together once again, Timeline proves that the musical magic these musicians had many years ago, is still there. Let's hope that the time does not pass too long before another encore performance from this terrific trio.
Timeline; Theme for a Ride; Into the Hills; For Emily; Green Again; Remembrance; To Feel or Not to Feel; Solidarity; Lullaby; Dedication.
Chris Lomheim: piano; Gordon Johnson: bass; Jay Epstein: drums