Thursday, March 29, 2012

Romain Collin, The Calling

What starts in the jazz community doesn't always stay in the jazz community. To put it another way, when a upcoming jazz artist gets a reputation among fellow musicians and advance-garde enthusiasts, with some luck and the right releases, his or her music can come to be appreciated in the wider music-listening world. Such a fate may well be in store for pianist-composer Romain Collin. His album The Calling (Palmetto 2156) will be officially out this coming month (though it appears to be available now, at least as a download). I have an advance copy playing one more time as I write this, and I must say that his is the sort of music that could garner him a wide coterie of enthusiasts.

It's a piano trio throughout, with Collin joined by Luques Curtis and Kendrick Scott on double bass and drums, respectively. They are augmented by John Shannon on guitar and Adrian Daurov on cello for several tracks.

In part this music is about the acoustic jazz-rock piano trio sort of thing that Jarrett and then Mehldau, Benevento, and a number of others have made a part of their approach. Romain and his trio play with the sophisticated interactions one expects from a good piano trio: interplay and openness with arranged-composed signposts along the way. There is a very interesting, identifiably original compositional richness to Collin's music that sets him on in his own plane, so to say. Sometimes it is lushly rhapsodic, sometimes pointedly thrusting in a rhythmically kicking fashion. He has a lyrical strain to him that many will find to their liking. And from a technical standpoint his playing shows he has been thoroughly schooled pianistically and makes imaginative use of that background. He can also throw a solo at you that will give you pause and make you smile.

This is a kind of wistful jazz-rock romanticism with compositional heft. His music has all the earmarking of a wider audience. He's the sort of artist that can convert new age lovers into something more formidable without sounding like he is "playing down" to them.

That's a knack. It is a thoroughly enjoyable album with some heavyweight pianism. I wish him all success.

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