"Motian Music" closes with the whisper-soft "Psalm" a piece so quiet at the outset one has to lean into the speakers. Soon, you can make out a melody from the piano as the bass plays a slow counter-point. The drums and cymbals color the piece as the music floats forward. The sounds seem to hang in the air, like early morning clouds on a Spring morning awaiting the sunrise. A glorious ending to a splendid album of music. Russ Lossing's love and respect for Paul Motian the man and composer shines through every track - the listener is the beneficiary and, honestly, in these days of uncertainty and daily unkindness, one needs this music.
For more information, go to www.russlossing.com. (The album will be released on February 22).
Here's an uptempo track to whet your appetite
|Photo: Harvey Tillis|
I grew up musically in the 1960s when trios such as Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience defined the "power trio" (in those days, that meant three musicians and a wall of Marshall amplifiers). Over the years, I found the trios led by John Abercrombie, Jim Hall, Bill Frisell, Jeff Parker, and several others very appealing. The rhythm section is so integral to the success of the music and the lead guitarist needs to balance melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic duties. That is also what is so appealing with the JPTrio. Yes, the leader stands out as the chief composer here yet, without the interaction and intelligence of Miller and Avery, the music would not shine. What the listeners get on "Nothing Here Belongs" is a band that likes to take chances without blowing your ears off. As they have done on previous recordings, the music moves from "swing" rhythms to blues to folk-influenced pieces to rock to jazz (even a touch of "surf" guitar.) The trio has no fear - they tackle Talking Heads "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" and really capture the emotion inherent in the piece. They also get "down & dirty" on the bassist's "Bloodshot" yet listen to Miller's guitar moving through various styles. Policastro's "Plain Song" is a fascinating and handsome melody that suggests Frisell's country side with a funky touch. Yet, there is an intensity that pushes the piece forward, especially when Miller goes into his solo. The leader solos on most tracks - that's good because he's quite a melodic player. He also enjoys playing counterpoint to Miller on many of the tracks. Avery is so supportive; he rarely steps out but the drums are a force throughout.
The Joe Policastro Trio is blessed with a 3-day-a-week (Sunday through Tuesday) steady gig at Pops for Champagne, North State Street in Chicago. That regular schedule (3 sets a night) allows the band to continually work on material, tighten it up, revisit older pieces, play with arrangements. "Nothing Here Belongs" is enjoyable from start-to-finish and I recommend you listen several times to understand just how good this music and the JPTrio is.
For more information, go to www.thejptrio.com.
Here's the band in the studio: