There are other riffs on chamber jazz that adhere more closely to the form and function of the traditional chamber music setting but the Luce Trio explores the Baroque from the perspective of an improvisational hybrid including the works of Handel, Bach and some of saxophonist Jon De Luce original compositions. While it seems slight irreverent to say, Bach and Handel did swing incredibly hard in their own way. Much in the same way early jazz was America's pop much, music from the Baroque era served a similar purpose for the era of time in which created.
A reharm if you will of Baroque era music is a daunting task despite the fact this particular area of classical music having produced some of the greatest pre-jazz improvisers, Jon De Lucia simply takes a more modern approach to his work with Ryan Ferreira on electric guitar and Chris Tordini on acoustic bass for an overall sound that is both organic in nature but post modern in presentation. Why does the release raise the bar for chamber jazz on a global scale? Simple...De Lucia is taking melodies and harmonies that are somewhat deconstructed and then reassembled with a more post modern approach that is incredibly conducive to the overall sound of this trio. To be blunt, there are other ensembles lumped into the "chamber jazz" category but perhaps none as authentic while maintaining a high degree of accessibility to the average listener that may not be as familiar with some of the works contained here.
Jon De Lucia's "Chant" opens this work which was recorded at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church with a gorgeous if not slightly melancholy tune that captures the spirit of the Baroque in a simple yet incredibly evocative fashion. De Lucia's alto playing it deceptively subtle in its lyrical approach. There is the illusion of methodical and precise motion, a lyrical sense of purpose that characterized the Baroque era well. "Lascia Ch'io Pianga" is a piece from Handel that embraces a sonic elegance and intimacy of the joy of a simple melody that while dialed down slightly here, exudes a tranquility of musical bliss that is grace you can touch. Chris Tordini is a first call bassist whose lyricism here is simply a thing of beauty. "Sinfonia 11" may be the most famous work from Bach offered in Pieces Volume 1. Fluidity and the amazing nuances from guitarist Ferreira are literally three musical voices coming together as one.
The Luce Trio was originally conceived as an ensemble for classical and early music which were the backbone of De Lucia's work at the time and a legitimate case could be made this is simply a neo-classical recording of superior craftsmanship. However the subtle improvisational work takes some of the worlds most beautiful music and keeps a more open ended approach and the stiffness that keeps some listeners away from classical music is not found here on any level.
This is a stunning recording. Adventurous, organic and an incredibly intimate performance that should cut a incredibly wide path for both jazz and classical music lovers. The presentation here is oddly reminiscent in terms of "style" as being remarkably close to a recording one may here from the ECM level.
An absolutely exquisite work of timeless beauty and a must for any library.
Tracks: Chant; Lascia Ch'io; Passacaglia; I Saw My Lady Weepe-Flow My Tears; Sinfonia 11; Variations; The Dinosaurs; Es 1st Vollbracht; Jes, Deine Passion.
Personnel: Jon De Lucia: alto saxophone, sruti box; Ryan Ferreira: electric guitar; Chris Tordini: bass.