The melodically engaging but also rhythmically assertive Baz Trio came to birth in Tunisia in 2018, when French bassist Basile Rahola met Tunisian pianist Wajdi Riahi. After they played several concerts together, Rahola brought in his longtime friend and collaborator, French drummer Oscar Georges. The trio then dedicated itself to Rahola’s elegantly wrought compositions, profiled here.
All three musicians have great touch and taste. Packaged in a sturdy triple fold-out format with excellent art and design work by Marie Lavis (pitched somewhere between Matisse and African rock paintings) the beautifully recorded L’Homme Bleu should strike many a chord with anyone who has enjoyed the sort of post-Bill Evans piano trio jazz signalled by such names as Keith Jarrett and Bobo Stenson, Enrico Pieranunzi and John Taylor.
There is much tender albeit sinewy lyricism to savour, exemplified by the reflective One For Flint, with its resonant pizzicato from Rahola, and the spaciously stepped, organically building title track – inspired by the Berber Tuareg nomads or “blue people” of the Sahara and featuring further fine pizzicato from Rahola.
In contrast, Tawa, Lamma Bada Yatathana, Claudio and Underwater all showcase the sometimes ostinato-sprung rhythmic energy which can fire up the three-in-one interaction of a trio alert always to the poetic potentiality of fluid shifts in the dynamics of melodic phrase, spaced bass figure and rhythmic accent.
A thoroughly realised and consistently enjoyable debut: enjoy, especially, the gentle impressionist overtones of the meditative Tree Folks, the variegated emotional projection in the at times achingly lovely Rosa, and the laid-back, rolling and building affirmation of the concluding, Jarrett-touched Rehearsal Song. On this showing, the excellent Bazz Trio could – and should – go far.
La Ballade De L’Homme Bleu; Tawa; One For Flint; Tree Folks; Lamma Bada Yatathana; Claudio; Rosa; Underwater; Rehearsal Song (55.13)
Wajdi Riahi (p); Basile Rahola (b); Oscar Georges (d). Girona, 30-31 October 2019.
Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 607