There’s some great playing all round on this excellent bass-led album, particularly by the leader, who’s an agile bassist and strong soloist, with a great sound, whether walking or arco. He provides all of the compositions bar one, which prove to be good vehicles for the trio’s explorations.
On piano, Bruce Barth at times sounds like Kenny Barron (which is no bad thing), although the former sounds perhaps a little more spontaneous. Adam Cruz on drums is delicate and driving in equal measure, as and when the music requires.
“Message XII” is a strong up-tempo opener, whilst “Song for Dolphy” is a mid-tempo swinger with Barth digging in pretty hard at the piano, followed by a contrastingly more lyrical solo on bass from Råberg, and then Cruz gets a chance to open out a little on drums around the chordal punctuations. “A Closer Look” and “Lone Tree Hill” are ballads, and they’re not too long, which is good for the programme – nothing against ballads, but a couple of long ones can seem disproportionate in a standard length set, and spoil the flow of the album. In fact, none of the tracks here are any longer than they need to be.
“Le Candide II” is more edgy, more open, and more dynamic, and the title track and “Paris Window” return to the more contemporary feel of the opener. The lone standard “Here’s That Rainy Day” sees the leader reaching for the bow, in some style it must be said, with great tone.
I’m never sure of the point of a bonus track at the end of an album, but it’s an album well worth checking out.
Message XII; Song for Dolphy; A Closer Look; Le Candide II; Tailwind; Lone Tree Hill; Paris Window; Here’s That Rainy Day; Rainy Day Farewell; Bonus Track – Le Candide I (55.50)
Råberg (b); Bruce Barth (p); Adam Cruz (d). Brooklyn, 27 January 2018.
Red Piano Records 14599-4435