Here’s a piano trio with a welcome aptitude for moving beyond the obvious. Not for them the sterile trappings of abundant technique, although there’s an abundance of technical acumen in the way the three members think as one, and a shared appreciation for the wide open and far from densely populated plains first mapped by the likes of Paul Bley.
As much is clear on the lengthy Dream Of A Common Language where bassist Tom Riviere brings something of Charlie Haden to his own composition, and the collective marking of the passing moments is notable for its quiet intensity, an impression which is underlined to no small degree by the immediacy of the audio quality.
Pianist Matthew Aplin’s Sockeyed / Loose Laces is afforded similarly expansive treatment, and rightly so because again not a moment’s wasted and the sense of a group loose yet closely attuned is evident throughout, and the consequent three-way conversation is of an order which doesn’t leave the listener with the impression that they’re eavesdropping.
Watching The Arc Of Bats is a title not reflected in the virtually static nature of the music, which if anything is entirely at odds with such animatedly nocturnal doings. Instead the trio takes an episodic approach, but personally I could hear little that drew me in on any of the episodes.
A Mackerel’s Tale, the only track with the addition of a reading from poet Nel Begley, by way of contrast intimates at something which could be expanded across an entire album, and without carrying any of the dubious baggage readers might associate with jazz and poetry exercises of the past. Its mood is ambiguous, and the subtleties that suggests are rare these days.
Staircase Stomp; Sound Logic / Sound Magic; Watching The Arc Of Bats; Brave To Swim In This Weather; Brimful; Dream Of A Common Language; Sockeyed / Loose Laces; A Mackerel’s Tale (61.52)
Matthew Aplin (p); Tom Riviere (b); Steve Hanley (d); Nel Belgey (v on A Mackerel’s Tale). The Old Cowshed, no location or date given.