Sunday, February 15, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Trudel, Hancock and Hersch

Marianne Trudel Quintet Live: Sands of Time. 2006. Marianne Trudel: TRUD 2007-1.

Marianne Trudel: piano, composition
Rob Mosher: soprano saxophone, oboe
Jonathan Stewart: tenor saxophone
Morgan Moore: bass
Robbie Kuster: drums

Underneath the polish and gentle luster of this melodically centered, harmonically lush collection of Trudel originals lurks a jazz pianism and sensibility that is unusually striking. The members of the quartet perform feats of musicianship and weave in their own personalities. But it is the peculiar angles of this French-Canadian pianist that sets the tone and casts a spell over this session. Lyrical lines and inventive harmonies cast interesting shadows along a jazz sound bubbling with optimism. Beauty that leaves these ears curious and unsated.

Herbie Hancock: Empyrean Isles. 1964 (re-issued in 1999 as a Rudy Van Gelder edition). Blue Note Records: 7243 4 98796 2 1.

Herbie Hancock: piano
Freddie Hubbard: cornet
Ron Carter: bass
Tony Williams: drums

"The Egg" is a revelation to these ears - every time I hear it. Bob Blumenthal's liner notes describe it as "an open improvisation that grows from the slightest fragments." Free improvisation featuring Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard. The creative impulses reverberating through the decades on this classic document. The sound, and the spaciously open settings explored by Freddie Hubbard makes the argument for why he is so revered (and missed). And of course there are the classic tracks of "One Finger Snap" and "Cantaloupe Island" bringing gravity to repeated listenings to this wonder.

Michael Moore Trio: Chicoutimi. 1993. Ramboy: 06

Michael Moore: clarinet
Fred Hersch: piano
Mark Helias: bass

This one has wormed its way into my "favorite CD" category with its completely unassuming excellence. Trio music hovering in a territory vaguely between composed and improvised - leaving no impression of where one begins and the other leaves off - through a set of short bursts of sonic poetry. Understated without being undramatic. Melodic without relegating any player to a background role of support. Chicoutimi never hits one over the head with its quiet genius. But there is so much detail contained within each expressive moment that the ears and mind are drawn completely in and won over by it all.

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