Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Release > Edward Simon Trio Live in New York at Jazz Standard (Sunnyside)

Just five tracks make up the latest disc from pianist Edward Simon, but they’re substantial and even uplifting epics that ensure that no listener will feel short-changed. Quite the opposite, actually.
Opening the disc, which features Simon, the great  44-year-old Venezuela-born pianist, with the unbeatable team of bassist  John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade, is Simon’s Poesia, a lyrical, swinging thriller.
Next, the trio covers Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Chovendo Na Roseira – was that the great Brazilian composer’s only waltz? — on Simon’s terms. He’s reconfigured the first half of the tune as a dramatic 4/4 tune over a bass ostinato before reverting back to Jobim’s design. The performance is flowing and gorgeous, with prolonged playing by Simon over the bass-ostinato foundation, and it concludes with an extended vamp that’s soulful and even Jarrett-like.
Giant Steps has also been reimagined — in the trio’s hands, its an loose, medium-tempo swinger, the emphasis having shifted from Coltrane’s original brisk change-making to more upbeat and expansive collective playing. 
Simon’s Pathless Path, which stretches beyond 15 minutes, is a mesmerizing example of masters making an epic out of very little composed material — or none at all — it wouldn’t surprise me if the track was a collective improvisation.

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