Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Alex Levin Trio Refraction 2013

 I come back from vacation well...if you call one week in intensive care thanks to a heart attack and The Alex Levin Trio crosses my desk. Totally digging the cover shot, I am reminded of the those day of a fine cigar, good brandy, and essentially all the reasons my health is in decline.

The Alex Levin is an internationally acclaimed jazz piano trio. What makes the trio so intriguing is the ambient atmosphere of their music lends an ear to the more intimate side of jazz without doing a melancholy riff on the great Bill Evans (nice idea though). After rolling through three acclaimed releases with numerous pressing we now find Refraction which is an autobiographical look at their sonic prime. Cultural byproducts of their own experience, the Alex Levin Trio can shift harmonics on a dime while keeping a lyrical ebb and flow not to mention interest of the passing listener.

Piano duos and trios are traditional havens for those that have mastered the grand standard from the Great American Song Book and little else. The steady lyrical flow of bassist Diallo House and the subtle nuances of Ben Cliness allow three voices to play as one with a sense of lyrical purpose the takes a sharp left at the more traditional standard arrangement and instead goes for the deep end of the sonic spectrum from such icons as Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk, and Lorenz Hart and Richard Rogers.

It would be far too easy to dismiss the Alex Levin as one of those typical trios that the Big Apple serves up on a regular basis, instead they offer up a healthy slice of melodic pie with just enough ice cream on top to make the difference the listener should enjoy and annoy most dentists.

This is one is all most too easy:

Tracks: My Romance; Night and Day; All of You; Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise; If I Were A Bell; On Green Dolphin Street; San Francisco Holiday; Everything Happens To Me.

Personnel: Alex Levin: piano; Diallo House: bass; Ben Clines: drums.