Romain Collin is a rising star in the world of jazz piano. The most endearing quality to the music of Collin is that while it is harmonically driven, textured and punctuated with intensity there is not an ounce of pretentious self indulgence in this release. Simply put...Romain Collin is that good! A classical trained pianist with the lost soul of a Bud Powell and the lyrically inventive genius of a Keith Jarrett places Collin at the very top of the heap of the "up and coming."
With what can easily be considered an all star trio with the incredible Luques Curtis on double-bass and one of the most underrated drummers on the planet in Kendrick Scott this trio does not swing, they burn white hot. A slightly more personal release that focuses on Collin's incredible compositional prowess, The Calling is an offering built around melody - where it can go and places where you as the listener can allow yourself to visit. Perhaps the unsung hero to this most impressive release could be producer Matt Pierson who has helped formulate works by Taylor Eigsti, Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau.
With all the incredible sonic firepower at his disposal, Collin opens with a more minimalistic piece "Storm." There is a celebration of spatial grandeur without ever getting lost in a piece that is lesser hands may be to vast by design. "Stop This Train" is a delightful fall back on Collin's origins with pop music and the singer/songwriter genre. A zen like melody where less is more, notes are not wasted but savored. Aural textures and an emotional ambient feel overtakes the mood of what may well be the most beautiful if not beautifully arranged piece on The Calling. Intimate, romantic and at times cinematic this is a tune desperately seeking a love story. "Burn Down" matches the sonic intensity of the talent yet this trio has the innate ability to pull back and push forward as needed. The controlled sonic fury of Scott adds tremendous depth and the lyrical lines of Curtis allow this trio to play with one harmonious train of thought. Musical cohesion at it's very finest. "Nica's Dream" is a huge roll of the musical dice by re-harming the melody but this formidable trio crushes their version. To re-harm the melody of an iconic tune and have it work thus placing your own indelible mark on the number is a stroke of musical genius.
The modern day piano trio has turned into the musical equivalent of watching paint dry. Not very exciting and nothing adventurous in the fashion in which the paint is applied. Romain Collin is one of a very select few pianists that are in the process of reshaping what is considered the jazz piano norm.
The Calling is successfully making old school new cool and with an impeccable trio to boot. This is Collin's follow up to his critically acclaimed debut release and The Calling is well worth the wait!
5 Huge Stars for making the impossible look effortless.
Tracks: Storm; The Calling; Runner's High; Stop This Train; Burn.Down; Pennywise The Clown; Greyshot; Strange; Nica's Dream; Airborne; Aftermath; One Last Try.
Personnel: Romain Collin: piano; Luques Curtis: double bass; Kendrick Scott: drums; John Shannon: guitar (1,5,7); Adrian Daurov: cello (5,7).