Edward Simon’s Trio Captured Memorably at the Jazz Standard
Pianist Edward Simon‘s Trio Live in New York at Jazz Standard documents a two-night stand at the sonically exquisite club in December of 2010 with John Patitucci on bass and Brian Blade on drums. It’s an expansively lyrical mix of third-stream originals, a bossa hit and an iconic sax tune, reinvented. Simon explores lots of long vamps punctuated by unexpected, momentary dynamic shifts, engaging the rhythm section throughout the set.
The band leaps right into an opening song without words, Poesia and within a minute Simon is tersely leaping and dancing, shadowed by Patitucci, who animates a plateau midway through, judicious and whispery against the pianist’s gleaming backdrop. Then the bass eases the trio into Jobim’s Chovendo na Roseira and works a lullaby vamp that finally peaks with a series of climbs from the piano echoed with unexpected explosiveness from Blade. The otherworldly, starlit Pathless Path slowly coalesces into a moody, tangoish tune, Simon alternating a Riders on the Storm ripple with a stern chordal attack and then a neat rhythmic trick that Simon uses to springboard a long upward climb.
Giant Steps might seem an odd choice as a piano tune, but Simon’s methodical, allusively bluesy take is a revelation: it makes a fantastic practice piece for aspiring would-be Coltranes, complete with some vibrant piano/drum exchanges and a counterintuitively spacious, boomy Blade solo. The final number is Pere, the album’s most cohesive tune, fueled by Simon’s darkly lithe chromatics as the band rises and falls. This is one of those albums that takes awhile to get to know; it’s worth sticking with to discover its many intriguing moments.
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