Carole Nelson: Arboreal

In brief:
"The improvisation is effective and the interaction of the trio very sympathetic ... a very worthwhile release, from a talent deserving wider recognition"

Nelson was born in London, and is based in Ireland. Following her 2017 debut album, One Day In Winter, her new album Arboreal has an ecological theme and inspiration. The music, says Nelson in her liner-notes, began with a walk through her local woods in South Co. Carlow.

She decided that she wanted to “express the living reality of a forest – from the mycelium network beneath my feet to the sheltering canopy above, with a sense of the deep interconnection of all living things.”

Advertisement

Nelson, ably supported by bassist Cormac O’Brien and drummer Dominic Mullan, is a memorable composer in a Romantic idiom. The piano trio ethos is in the post-Bill Evans mainstream, with Nordic and East European inflections of the Tord Gustavsen and Marcin Wasilewski type. The improvisation is effective and the interaction of the trio very sympathetic. 

The title of the second tune on the album, Ar Scáth A Chéile, is from an Irish saying: “We live in each other’s shadows.” It’s an attractive, countryish composition. Beneath the Surface is a driving, groove-based outing with a contrasting lyrical section. The long, elegiac Requiem For Lost Species is a highlight, though the leader’s wordless vocalising on this track and elsewhere doesn’t pull me in as much as her pianism.

One Day In Winter, also on Black Stairs Records, and with the same trio of Irish musicians, was similarly introspective – though unlike its precursor, the new album doesn’t feature Nelson’s second instrument, soprano saxophone. This is a very worthwhile release, from a talent deserving wider recognition.

Arboreal is available from Jazz Ireland (CD & downloads), Amazon, iTunes, Spotify etc. More info, blog and other projects at Carole’s website

Discography
Hope In The Dark; Ar Scáth A Chéile; Beneath The Surface; Requiem For Lost Species; No Mud No Lotus; In The Days Of Growing Darkness; Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Medicine); Arboreal; Resurgence; Canopy (62.25)
Nelson (p, v); Cormac O’Brien (b); Dominic Mullan (d). Dublin, October 2019.
Black Stairs Records BSR 1002

Advertisement
Advertisement

Jazz Journal articles by month

Advertisement

Chanda Rule + Sweet Emma Band: Hold On

Here we have a series of songs firmly embedded in the African-American experience and delivered in the tradition of strong gospel and soul-influenced vocals....
Advertisement

Alt. takes 06/20

I’ve been teaching Latin to my homeschooled son and he’s been helping me cut wood. Quid pro quo. Actually I give him more than...
Advertisement

Han Bennink: from Dodds to disruption

Jesus may have walked on water but he never beat a rhythm on it like Han Bennink. Astonishingly, the 78-year old maverick improv musician...
Advertisement

Jazz Italiano: A History Of Italian Syncopated Music, 1904-1946

There was a question on one of the brainier TV quiz shows recently – QI or some such – that posed a kind of...
Advertisement

Syncopation

In the late 1940s the first wave of World War II novels began to appear. The positives were that the authors had actually served...
Advertisement

JJ 02/81: James ‘Blood’ Ulmer – Are You Glad To Be In America?

Though condemned by some after a recent visit to Camden Jazz Festival, Ulmer has been embraced by many here, not least by Rough Trade,...