Wednesday, June 01, 2016

CD Review: Richard Poole/Marilyn Crispell/Gary Peacock - In Motion

Richard Poole/Marilyn Crispell/Gary Peacock
In Motion

In Motion undoubtedly describes this trio's performance, but it's hard to see the names of Marilyn Crispell (piano) and Gary Peacock (bass) and not think of the title as something of a reference to their late co-conspirator, drummer Paul Motian. His musical strokes complemented Crispell's exploratory keyboard work and Peacock's probing, rich bass lines so exquisitely that their recordings should be regarded as some of the best works of modern piano trios.

Of course, drummer Richard Poole's name appears first on the album cover, so it wouldn't be fair to simply talk about him only in reference to his predecessor. While he might borrow some tips from Motian - such as knowing when a gentle cymbal is worth a dozen rolls - he reveals his own personality and works skillfully together with his compatriots. "Dichotomy" serves as the best introduction, wherein the tranquility of Peacock's measured, opening bass solo is shattered with explosive drums and a chaotic piano attack the likes of which Crispell hasn't unleashed in years. The pattern repeats itself and between the performance and track title, it evokes joie de vivre.

By contrast "Serakunda" finds the trio in a completely different setting with a bright, folky melody anchored by Peacock, whose tone and attack vibrates with authority throughout the whole album. The bassist's "Gary's Theme" is the one track not attributed to the trio, and the one that wasn't a spontaneous invention. Crispell develops on the author's lead by adding short lines, while Poole holds a pulse, and takes a brief solo.

Much of the album moves in a manner that implies time without actually stating it or abiding by it. How the trio uses it makes all the difference. "Isle of Nowhere" is a delicate ballad that sounds composed, with rolling cymbals and Peacock working like a second voice, rather than accompanist. "Ahzân" opens gently with piano notes hanging in the air before the bass takes the lead and Poole plays what sounds like hand percussion. The title track is pure freedom, with Crispell's percussive tendencies leading the way, though Poole and Peacock provide the perfect reactions and counterpoints to the piano.

Crispell, Peacock and Poole chose accurately chose an album title that reflects what they do, and whether they're cutting loose wildly or keeping things gentle, the music stays in motion. 

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