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Pianist Frank Carlberg's trio is named after the Tivoli amusement park he remembers from his youth in Helsinki, not the famous Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark, the second oldest amusement park in the world and a huge tourist attraction.
Carlberg's Tivoli is more of the roving carnivals or circus that might be associated with less family-friendly characters, tattooed carneys (before tattoos were cool) and alcoholic acrobats. But, then the show must go on, cotton candy pulled and ring tossed rings...tossed.
From his Finnish youth, Carlberg was educated at the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory. His base of operations is now Brooklyn, and he has released several acclaimed discs with his quintet, including The American Dream (Red Piano, 2009), which scored music to the poetry of Robert Creeley.
Tivoli Trio distills Carlberg's vision to its creative essence. With the responsive drummer Gerald Cleaver and bassist John Hebert, Carlberg has his band of circus carneys. Their mischievousness is similar to that of Jason Moran's work in Bandwagon. The Tivoli Trio pushes the boundaries of the traditional piano trio with wit, aggressiveness and humor; their familiarity breeding waggish dynamism. Dropping a few samples into the short tracks "Into the Night...," "One Moment Please," and the opener "Fanfare," the trio stamps an original signature to the music, living the life of the circus barkers and hawkers in the funky odd-March of "Bill's Hat" and the forsaken and stark "Tea For Two"which is stripped bare to reveal the cigarette smoke and foul breath of an old favorite, dusted off for a homesick rendition. Carlberg, Hebert and Cleaver know the jazz trio shtick, but choose to zig into other directions, rather than zag. They resurrect pieces of Bud Powell on the bouncing "Potholes," and bits of angular modernism with "Tumbles," all the time keeping a tight-knit approach to the jazz trio.
Track Listing: Fanfare; Tricks; The Chase; Rumble Mumble; One Moment, Please!; Bill's Hat; Two For Tea; Highwire; Potholes; Spit (The Game); Tumbles; Harlequin; ...Into The Night....
Personnel: Frank Carlberg: piano; John Hebert: bass; Gerald Cleaver: drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.