Thursday, March 12, 2020

Gordon Grdina's Nomad Trio - Nomad (Skirl Records, 2020)

Forward thinking jazz and world music seeker Gordon Grdina plays guitar and oud on this album, in the company of Matt Mitchell on piano and Jim Black on drums. The music carves a bold stylistic path that keeps it interesting throughout, beginning with the opening track “Wildfire.” On this performance, the group develops an intricate theme, working together with Grdina’s guitar surging over the slashing drums and lashing piano chords. This gives the trio a strong and vivid appearance that suits them well, as they build a raucous and exciting collective improvisation of grinding guitar, pounding piano and bracing drums. The music lightens up about three quarters of the way in, but remains complex, especially in the guitar playing, ending with a section of enigmatic quiet. “Nomad” has spacious guitar playing, soon met by rapid piano and drums giving the music a distinct forward motion. Dark cascading notes and chords fall from Mitchell’s piano met with excellent percussion from Black, making their short duet conversation a fascinating listen. Grdina’s guitar re-emerges and really puts things into overdrive, with a sharp scalding sound met by some heavy percussion to excellent effect. “Benbow” uses quiet guitar probing, with piano and drums slowly building into the overall sound, supple beautiful piano notes fall like a summer shower, as the music slowly gains power and speed as it takes shape. Mitchell’s piano is the key, guiding the music forward at an ever faster pace with the two other musicians moving in to create a fine and complex creative interaction. Skittish percussion opens “Thanksgiving,” gradually coalescing into a firm foundation, with the piano developing an interesting groove like figure that Grdina takes off from for a guitar solo that works well within the overall context of the track. It makes for a nice layered performance with the instruments within their own strata, yet in communication with one another. Everyone then melds together for a strong improvised section, where all of the musicians are reacting in real time and creating very exciting music in the process. This album worked quite well overall, all three musicians are capable of creating very colorful music and bringing their talents together for this project produced lively and exciting music. Nomad -

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