Friday, December 10, 2010

Anat Fort - And If (ECM, 2010)

Pianist and composer Anat Fort made a big splash in 2007 with her previous album for ECM, A Long Story, and this follow up shows that she has continued to make progress in forging her own unique musical path. Supported by her core trio mates Gary Wang on bass and Roland Schneider on drums, the group develops a dreamy, lyrical sound that is layered with ideas and concepts. The album is book-ended by two compositions dedicated to the great drummer Paul Motian whom she played with on her previous album. Motian's subtle, ever shifting dynamic has had a big impact on Fort's musical conception, and that shines through in the subtle shading in the music of these two performances and indeed the album as a whole. There is a full-bodied lyricism that recalls the emotionally resonant playing of Keith Jarrett and Fred Hersch to some of the pieces, notably the beautiful "Clouds Moving." The lengthy "Something 'bout Camels" anchors the developing slowly and dynamically from a spare, almost silent opening to a dynamic trio improvisation that draws on the strengths of the entire unit. This was a patient and thoughtfully played album by a working trio that is comfortable performing together and taking risks. They develop a wide ranging group of performances that cover many moods and reward patient listening. And If -

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