Thursday, December 09, 2010

Curtis Clark Trio - Taagi (No Business, 2010)

Pianist Curtis Clark has been under the radar a bit despite a distinguished pedigree, having studied with the great pianist and composer Horace Tapscott and played with eclectic saxophonist David Murray. After living in Europe for a number of years, Clark returned to the U.S. and cut this dynamic trio set with Aaron Gonzalez on bass and Stephan Gonzalez on drums. These men have a fine pedigree of their own, being the sons of the great Dallas trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez. The music on this album is quite beautiful and lyrical, flowing like water in a mountain stream through solo and ensemble passages. Two lengthy suites open the album, "Joy/Blessings" and "Water Colors/New York City Wildlife." These demonstrate the trio as a very coherent unit able to move from more abstract spacier sections, to full driving trio improvisation. The title track "Taagi" is the centerpiece of the album, developing patiently over the course of a quarter hour and featuring some dynamic trio and solo sections. The remaining selections, "Joy," "Blessings" and "Beautiful Love" demonstrate the lyrical nature of the music and the bands commitment to improvisational rigor. This was a classy and well done performance, and fans of exploratory piano trios should definitely take note. Hopefully it will raise the profile of both Clark and the Gonzalez brothers to the level they clearly deserve. Taagi - No Business Records

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