Perhaps the best tenor trio recording in the last twenty five years, maybe longer as Joshua Redman is on fire!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
So...is it #BAM or is it jazz? Improvisational music is far more than a name, it is a feeling. Trios Live was recorded in two different venues and with two different bands but with the same result, controlled sonic fury. One set stretches back to a 2009 date and includes drummer Gregory Hutchinson and bassist Matt Penman. During the 2013 set at the Jazz Standard we find bassist Reuben Rogers holding down the bass chair. Should memory serve me, the word "Jazz" was used four times in the liner notes thus placing #BAM, New Coke and "Hope and Change" on the trash heap of other epic failures. On to new business...
Not content to merely phone in a smoking set of inspired standards there are four originals along with a slightly more eclectic Thelonious Monk tune and...Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean?" Trust me...it works well. Redman plays with an elegant subtly throughout this release yet pushes harmonic boundaries as need be. Meters change, dynamics pop and the forward motion of this trios is undeniable. Trios Live is dedicated to the jazz fan, all of us...You don't have to dig #BAM to dig this and the trios are certainly pushing the old school envelope into the next millennium. Most trios are a leader and two after thoughts, not here. The finesse of drummer Hutchinson and the lyrical anchors provided by both Penman and Rogers are nothing short of melodic conversations we have been invited to enjoy. Joshua Redman shines on the smoker "Act Natural" and the magnificent arrangement of "The Ocean" is nothing short of genius. The Thelonious Monk tune is handled well, but after all - it is a Monk tune.
Improvisational induced spontaneous combustion, the joy of the creative process. A new and improved type of blowing session. All the musical co-conspirators are on fire and Joshua Redman simply kills it!
Tracks: Mack the Knife; Never Let Me Go; Soul Dance; Act Natural; Mantra #5; Trinkle, Tinkle; The Ocean.
Personnel: Joshua Redman: tenor saxophone (1, 2, 4, 6, 7), soprano saxophone (3, 5); Matt Penman: bass (1, 5–7); Reuben Rogers: bass (2–4); Gregory Hutchinson: drums.