After time in a larger group, Jim Robitaille has returned to his better-known format of his spacious-sounding trio. Joined by Bill Miele on electric bass and Chris Poudrier on drums, the sounds Robitaille creates express great variety in style and mood.
He plays mostly electric guitar, with use of an acoustic nylon-string guitar for tracks When We Passed and Never Never Land. Additionally, this eighth track is one of three covers included in this album, originating from the 1954 broadway version of Peter Pan; the other two cover the jazz standard Baubles, Bangles And Beads, and the Beatles’ Here, There And Everywhere.
Space Cycles explores post-bop jazz, in line with Robitaille’s previous trio work, yet nonetheless provides us with calming, moody, eerie and luxuriant tracks. One track, When We Passed, exhibits an embracing and profound melancholy. Robitaille’s switch to his nylon-string acoustic guitar here only heightens this track’s tenderness and thoughtful beauty. Poudrier offers sensitive brushwork alongside Miele’s melodic bass solo.
From the start of this album there’s an entrancing effect. Instantly the listener is at ease hearing how wonderfully the trio communicate with one another, as the music weaves between them. The title track is lively and enjoyable, with Miele and Poudrier creating adventurous rhythms whilst Robitaille produces some of the most impressive and elaborate solo lines on the whole album.
As a whole, Robitaille’s Space Cycles illustrates the trio’s capacity to play together in ways which magnify their kinship with one another’s playing. This affinity helps to generate warming and animating music, sustained throughout the entirety of Space Cycles.
Natural Selection; Transitions; When We Passed; Space Cycles; Baubles, Bangles And Beads; February 12th; Nocturne; Never Never Land; Here, There And Everywhere; Chance Meeting (53.15)
Robitaille (g); Bill Miele (elg); Chris Poudrier (d). Dartmouth, MA, April 2020.
Whaling City Sound WCS 122