Thursday, June 21, 2012

David Kikoski - Consequences (Criss Cross, 2012)

This is a potent and muscular mainstream piano trio consisting of David Kikoski on piano, Christian McBride on bass and Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums. Watts is well known for his playing with the Marsalis brothers as well as his own projects and contributes two of the most memorable compositions on this album. "Blutain" comes forth at a medium tempo rolling gait, breezy and bright with a supple bass solo and a strong drumbeat. "Mr. JJ" is the centerpiece of the album, blasting out of the gate with hard charging full bore collective improvisation. Kikoski achieves McCoy Tyner like speed and facility while McBride gets a hot strong bass solo over shimmering cymbals which Watts rides into his own solo section. The group returns to a full band boil before ending this most impressive performance. Two of Kikoski's compositions stand out as well. "Russian Roulette" is an uptempo song with bright sounding piano accompanied by thick bass and drums. The music builds to a dynamic and powerful trio improvisation. Piano and drums shadow one and other just before stepping aside for a fine bass solo. Some fast muscle flexing opens "Drama," not the show-off kind that might be implied by the title, but really nice inspired playing. After McBride develops a thick strong bass solo, piano chords frame athletic bass and drums. The group also plays a couple of slower pieces and ballads, and the disc ends on a ruminative note with a solo piano version of "Never Let Me Go," but the fast songs were the keepers for me. The sounded powerful, muscular and sleek, like taking a fine sports car through its paces. Consequences -

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