Thursday, February 14, 2013
Trio X of Sweden: "Traumerei"
So who composed these eleven set pieces? How about Robert Schumann for the title song, and then names like Henry Purcell, J.S. Bach, Modest Musorgkij, Ludvig van Beethoven, Maurice Ravel, Frederic Chopin, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart? Familiar all, but not exactly your typical jazz composers. No, this is a set of eleven classical songs, some recognizable to the average listener and others not so much, used as the basis for some really nice jazz trio play. While classical music lovers might be upset with the liberties taken by the trio, jazz folks should be enthused by the creativity and sound.
Later, "Bolero" by Ravel begins with the bass taking the lead, followed by the piano, with a strong drum maintaining and gradually increasing the tempo and dynamics. The bass is a constant as well underneath, and while the piece never moves far from the structure of the original, it is clearly a jazzed version, exciting, colorful and cleverly played. "Largo" by Chopin is quiet, with a touching piano melody accompanied by brushed drumming and a modest beat. The bass part is played equally quietly but is there in the background playing a counter melody to fill out the sound. On "Roslagvar/Swedish Polka" the group moves into mainstream jazz with a lively swing beat and livelier drum play. The percussion is perfectly attuned to the tempo and dynamics of the piano as it moves through the melody, providing a much more solid, jazzy base with more cymbal crashes and drum rolls.
All in all this is a pleasure to listen to, a set of eleven pieces of varying tempos and mood, underpinned by classical tunes which are cleverly converted to a set of contemporary jazz.