Friday, April 9, 2010
Jim Lewis, Andrew Downing, Jean Martin - On A Short Path From Memory To Forgotten (Barnyard, 2010) ****
Their playing is everything you can expect from a young trio with this line-up : the improvised pieces are open, relatively accessible, with the jazz tradition shining through the surface of the avant-garde. Some tracks have a strong rhythmic base, giving the pieces a nice sense of swing, but the band can be equally minimalistic, creating intimate soundscapes with sparse notes, sometimes moving from one to the other in the same piece. Lewis has a broad range, yet he is stellar when his playing is slow and bluesy, with some real deep emotional power, as on "Six". Downing is as confident on arco as he is on pizzi, providing the strong rhythmic backbone in the more uptempo moments. Martin's percussive power is eloquent and versatile (although his trumophone does not sound very convincing). The nice thing about the album is that the three musicians play these improvisations so very relaxed, with a great sense of pace, and no sense of urgency, despite the relatively short length of the tracks. No pretense, no needless artsy stuff, but adventure full of confidence. I like it a lot!
Listen to "Fourteen".
Buy from Barnyard Records.
Watch the band as the first performance on this clip - don't miss William Parker later on the video!