Greg Burk Expanding Trio: Message In The Clouds

Probing improvisation and wide dynamic range characterise a trio that never sounds like a jazz pianist with bass and drum support


This is certainly an ever-expanding trio, the music burgeoning out from the opening chords of each selection. The leader usually begins slowly, in stately fashion, often with soft melodic lines, and builds up gradually to a dense musical phase supported vigorously by the bass and drum team.

It is a fully integrated trio with all three instruments making a considerable contribution to the individual tracks. These three are committed improvisers who explore fully the implications of nine originals by Burk. It never sounds like a jazz pianist with bass and drum support. All the originals are unique and fresh sounding but usually based on a strong melody that is pulled and pushed this way and that to see how much music it reveals.

The pianist’s touch is deeply lyrical although his use of dynamics ensures a rousing group sound. Bassist Senni and drummer Carpentieri match him in build-up, creative fervour and volume levels as the pieces proceed.

The title track, which begins the recital, changes mood and tempo several times before being resolved. An explorative piano solo expands effectively until conclusion. It is followed by Don’t Disappear, which mainly features bassist Senni, who begins and ends it. In between all three musicians expand on the theme and improvise on it. Afterimage is driven by drummer Carpentieri who takes short solo bursts at the beginning and end of the track. Love Wins starts out in soft, gentle mode but again builds up gradually to a peak and then descends, quietly. Breaking The Limits is the most comprehensive track, fast and furious, mostly at a brisk tempo.

These three often sound like a bigger unit than a trio with loud passages alternating with the quiet and rhapsodic. This is certainly highly original jazz trio music, rather like the Bill Evans Trio with a lot of energy and no standards, only newly created compositions. It is different and intriguing.

Message In The Clouds; Don’t Disappear; Afterimage; Love Wins; Peace For Vanessa; Jade Smile; Breaking The Limits; Creature Comforts; The Union (55.15)
Burk (p); Steffano Senni (b); Enzo Carpentieri (d). Rome, October & November 2020.
Tonos Records 005