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Monday, January 15, 2007

Paul Smoker Trio - Genuine Fables

Allright. Another trumpet trio I forgot (see my previous post on Roy Campbell). Shame on me! The Paul Smoker Trio with "Genuine Fables", with Ron Rohovit on bass and Phil Haynes on drums. A wonderful CD, not in the least because the three bring a cover of the St. Louis Blues by W.C. Handy, a unique version. You have to know, dear reader, that my very first contact with jazz, was one of the best jazz albums of all time "Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy", and that because my mother was a great fan of Satchmo (thanks, mam!). If you don't have it, well then, shame on you!
The album starts with "Total Eclipse" by Haynes on which he lets loose all his devils : he combines the sophistication of Jack DeJohnette with the powerplay of Jim Black ... and that for 11 minutes without slowing down. Rohovit follows at top speed, but Smoker remains calm, playing long notes, just to change once in a while in a sparkling trialogue, which evolves again in a lengthy and slow melody, while Haynes keeps beating his drums with four hands and four feet. Then we get the "St. Louis Blues", changing the form, respecting the spirit. Even when all discernable melody and rhythm have disappeared, it is still unmistakeably the same song. The longest piece, Tetra, is a 16 minute long epic by Smoker, to be followed by Mingus' "Fables of Faubus", and believe it or not, "Hello, Young Lovers", brought back to life by Haynes who turns it into a rhythmic fest. And that's the strength of this CD. The trio gives us some old material, and ressurects it by bringing it down to its absolute essence, and then refreshing it in a surprising and innovative way. Great!