Saturday, February 12, 2022

Ethan Iverson - Every Note Is True (Blue Note Records, 2022)

Pianist Ethan Iverson creates an engaging and accessible album in his debut for Blue Note Records, playing with Larry Grenadier on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Iverson has gained a wide range of experience during his career from seeking out venerated elders of the music to his lengthy stint in the cutting edge trio The Bad Plus. All of those experiences come into play in the creating of this album which opens in an interesting way, with the short track "The More It Changes" using soft piano with a 44-voice virtual choir, creating an interesting opening / prelude stating that the focus will be on the songs themselves, laying out a statement of purpose for the sounds that follow. "The Eternal Verities" uses deep emotional piano, which creates a pretty melody at a slow tempo piano floating enigmatically as the bass grounds the music and drums add commentary. The music reaches a lush, deep velvety weight near the end with some towering chords before slipping away. A probing theme from Iverson sets up the performance on "She Won’t Forget Me" as thick bass bounds, adding surface tension that the piano skips across like a water bug. The music eventually wells up with emotional fervor, but finally breaks against the shore. "For Ellen Raskin" has a gentle sunrise like opening, where Iverson’s soft touch meets diligent bass and supple percussion. The music is light and drifts upon the whims of the artists, with full round sounding piano chords juxtaposed against much more active drumming, eventually leaving with a soft solo piano coda at the end. There is quiet spare and patient sensibility on "Blue" as the flow of the music allows the sounds to come to to them naturally. Rolls of low end piano add tension as the music begins to take shape, followed by crashing chords, drums and cymbals. Stepping back from the brink, the group allows the evanescent piece ends as quietly as it began. "Goodness Knows" is a delicious swinger, where the music is bouncy and bright, and the theme cycling, repeating and gaining power, allowing the trio to break out on a bass led exploration, Grenadier's superb playing framed by piano chords, as the music evolves to a gently swinging number. Spare solo piano, "Had I But Known" sets a melancholy tone with emotional theme that is quiet and solemn. This short track evolves into "Merely Improbable" where the bass and drums return to settle on a mid tempo swing with a distinct edge to it. The music is pushed along by deft bass and drums creating a forceful rhythm which demands respect. "Praise Will Travel" develops a rapid solo drum opening, joined bass and drums, creates a sense of flowing dynamism as the music weaves through a complex setting. The concluding track, "At The Bells Of Motley,"  develops a groove that is close to the ground, where loping bass and drums provide the foundation for Iverson’s piano to bound in-between them. Bouncing rhythmic performance is a fine end the the record, incorporating another very good bass solo into the mix as well as strong drum feature, spreading the wealth equally. Every Note Is True - 

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