Pianist Noah Haidu Gains Momentum
Pianist Noah Haidu‘s latest Posi-Tone release, Momentum, a trio set with Ariel de la Portilla on bass and McClenty Hunter on drums, is a solid, purist effort. Haidu draws on a deep bag of licks and an immersion in the tradition for a tuneful, steady, swinging performance. Haidu isn’t without a sense of humor, and he and the band vary the moods through a mix of dynamically-charged originals as well as some diverse covers.
The opening track, I Thought About You moves upward into careful, rippling swing with a bluesy ebulience reminiscent of what Christian Sands does on the most recent Christian McBride trio album. The title cut works a dancing, funky series of hard-hitting clusters, Hunter having a field day with them, brief lingering passages punctuating the chase. Rainbow, the Keith Jarrett classic, gets a purposeful but bittersweetly lingering interpretation, Haidu again working methodically from judicious precision through some metric manipulation up to a steady 6/8 swing.
Likewise, the trio takes Haidu’s Juicy from a 7/8 intro to murky chordal clusters, back and forth with an unresolved tension over an altered clave groove. Thad Jones’ A Child Is Born keeps the cached clave going, a swaying, spacious, rather majestic take that pulses along with a wee-hours familiarity. A Donald Fagen-ish vamp kicks off the moody intro to The End of a Love Affair, and its dynamic and tempo shifts. Joe Henderson’s Serenity turns out to be anything but serene, with romping drums and biting modal hooks. They end with a Haidu composition, Cookie Jar, which pretty much sums up the album: a darkly catchy, resolving central riff, animated Hunter coloristics and a coyly out-of-focus solo from de la Portilla to a rather ambiguous outro.
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