Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bill Mays Invention Trio Life's A Movie Chiaroscuro 2013

Deconstructed chamber jazz with a post bop panache'
Brent Black /
This may not be the first go around for The Inventions Trio but it is arguably their best. An eclectic trio that works off a synergy that...swings! Pianist Bill Mays along with Marvin Stamm on trumpet and cellist Alisa Horn would seem to have settled in to a most unique harmonic wheelhouse that includes an original suite and some meticulously arranged riffs on Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk. The trio members can each lay claim to a slice of the virtuoso pie as their skills are impressive and incredibly adaptable given the set list.
This somewhat quirky effort is centered on a conceptual idea of an imaginary soundtrack. I don't get it. While "Life's a Movie" is a charming and well executed work, it creates an unintentional disconnect when placed between the works of Monk and Chick Corea. The arrangements are zen like and given the instrumentation work well with a less is more lyrical flavor that cuts to the chase quickly. The most pleasant surprise is the unification of swing as this trio moves with a lyrical sense of purpose creating a deceptively subtle spatial texture along the way.
Chamber jazz may not be the most accurate description as there is a stronger display of the more traditional form and function of modern jazz. This may be closer to new American classical - deconstructed for your listening pleasure. Easily a better than average release.
4 Stars
Tracks: Homage to Bill Evans; Life's A Movie; Concerto de Aranjuez; Spain; Monk Tribute.