Thursday, February 27, 2014

The North - Slow Down (This Isn't The Mainland)

Romain Collin charts a new course, the natural evolution for the modern jazz piano trio.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
 
There are pitifully few piano trios that excite me...This is one.
 
The North is the new piano trio featuring Romain Collin. Their debut release is Slow Down (This Isn't The Mainland). A release that is the equivalent of harmonic spontaneous combustion. A rare synergy between three artists that yield intense lyrical conversations, improvisational skills taken to a new level and an organic interaction that is raw, real and void of any preconceived notions or baggage. The North is an homage to that famed spot in Hawaii where nothing matters and what if it did. No, this isn't chill jazz but a laid back intensity of passion and emotion put forth on a shiny silver disc.
 
While the trio collaborated on the effort for several weeks, Slow Down was recorded with a minimum of takes with the end result as a virtual live studio recording warmth that is rare. The genre here floats from the Bob Dylan classic "Blowin' In The Wind" to Chick Corea's "Humpty Dumpty" yet the somewhat eclectic transition flows with a rich and deceptively subtle harmonic life force that embodies Slow Down. Piano trios are traditionally a leader and two afterthoughts that fill the necessary requirements of a rhythm section. The North is a unified force and three artistic voices all singing from the same page of the harmonic hymnal. Improvisational synergy reaches a new organic yet oddly whimsical level. Genres and traditional form and function of modern jazz are gently pushed aside for a melodic richness that encompasses a plethora of lyrical styles presented in an eclectic yet accessible fashion.
 
Bassist Shawn Conley and drummer Abe Lagrimas are key components to an ensemble that pushes this improvisational trio into a harmonic realm that similar groups dare to travel. Each member is classically trained and it is this root form of fundamental knowledge that would seem to elevate this collective to a rarefied level of melodic richness that few trios ever reach. "Yann's Flight" may well be the signature composition as it embraces a minimalistic approach with a vivid impressionistic presentation.
 
Romain Collin has arrived...Welcome him. A stellar release and easily one f the best for 2014!
 
Tracks: Great Ocean Road; Slow Down; Humpty Dumpty; Join Us Jackson; Dowsett Avenue; Light Blue; Yann's Flight; Blowin' In The Wind; Northern Dreams; Stay With Me.
 
Personnel: Romain Collin: Piano; Shawn Conley: Double Bass; Abe Lagrimas Jr.: Drums