Monday, September 25, 2017

Chris Speed Trio - Platinum on Tap (Intakt Records, 2017)

This is a very good album by the trio of Chris Speed on tenor saxophone, Chris Tordini on bass, and Dave King on drums. The album was recorded live in Brooklyn in March of 2016 and opens with "Arrival High" which has an understated drum rhythm, and painterly strokes of saxophone and bass. There is spaciousness of sound, and whispers that gradually become more voluminous, transforming the music into  a dynamic partnership. Subtle bass and drums underpin "Crossfade Cradle" while Speed concocts a memorable melody with diverse sounds suitable for improvisation, leading the trio to proceed in an interesting performance. The trio works well together, responding to each other's movements with a cat like quickness that allows the music to shimmer with the percussion encircling the soundstage and bass and saxophone reacting to the changes in rhythm. "Crooked Teeth" shows the trio playing in an unfettered fashion, not quite free, but wide open,with exciting drumming and thick bass interacting with Speed's saxophone which has a slightly muffled and scratchy tone and allows tension to flourish within the improvisation. There is a raw undercurrent to this performance, a spontaneity that suits it well as it builds to an exciting conclusion. The brief "Torking" spins a interesting tale at a medium-up pace, with the character of the music coming through and they dive into a deeper more abstract section. The music becomes darker and denser, weaving it's way to a strong and supple finish. There is a very thoughtful version of Albert Ayler's "Spirits" to finish the album on a high note. This tight three way performance, which shows how deeply ingrained the musicians are, recalling the great Ayler-Peacock-Murray trio of the past while putting their own distinctive spin on the music. This album works very well, with the compactness of the compositions and playing demonstrating the qualities of coherence and sharpness of this talented trio. Platinum on Tap -

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