The notion of a trio as a three-way musical discussion has been with us for a while now, but it’s still a treat to hear it manifested with the depth and subtlety that it is here. Everyone present listens closely to everyone else and notions of leadership no matter how nominal are submerged within the group identity.
Oddly the lack of strong themes aids this. So while “The Space Between Thoughts” echoes something John Lewis might have written, the finesse of the MJQ has no place on the trio’s agenda. Instead the musical conversation sounds so self-contained that the ear’s pricked by the intensity of it even while the resulting music hardly stands up and shouts.
“Scattered” is a poised example of making something out of very little, in this case something substantial in terms of dynamic variation and levels of intensity, although it stops well short of absolute freedom.
Thus the music might be deemed conservative by those for whom the shock of the new can’t be experienced often enough, and while there’s something in that, this is still a set that goes beyond the norm, so to speak, in terms of the intimacy of the discussion and the physicality of its realisation.
Wabi-Sabi; Song of the Dancing Saint; In the Corners of Clouds; Oddities; The Space Between Thoughts; Cry; Lazy; Scattered (43.39)
Davies (ts); Dave Whitford (b); James Maddren (d) London, February 14, 2018.