Friday, April 29, 2011

Bob Gluck's Exceptional Piano Trio Outing: "Returning"

Bob Gluck goes his own way. He is an excellent pianist, with harmonic and melodic ideas to spare. His recent Returning (FMR 292-0710) finds him in formidable company. Drummer Dean Sharp has the sensitivity and big ears to thrive in the intimate free-oriented trio setting. Michael Bisio has basso profundo status these days. He has become a major player (see my recent interview with him in All About Jazz), and for good reason. You have to have independent inventive prowess plus good team-interactivity to thrive in an open piano trio setting as a bassist now (and mostly always), and Michael surely has both.

Returning shows the integrity and artistic brilliance of those early Paul Bley trios, then affirms that this is the Bob Gluck Trio, with certain affinities, but with the compunction and talent to extend the forms and personalize them.

The level of playing has consistency. It is high throughout. The music can be forceful, or whisper to you. It can get a head of steam in the linear swing-zone, then turn around and head into space. The improvisations revel in thematic logic and yet remain open to spontaneity.

Gluck is a stylist of stature. The trio has six hands, and at least three feet (in the musical sense) and they are put magnificently to use here.

Highly recommended.

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