Friday, September 12, 2014

Jon Di Fiore, Yellow Petals

When it comes to piano trio jazz, it is unusual to find the drummer in the leadership position. I can think of a few instances but it is nonetheless infrequent. If the drummer writes the music and has a very musical touch then it makes sense. That is what we get on John Di Fiore's album Yellow Petals (Third Freedom Music 1003).

The album contains nine Di Fiore compositions of interest, played well by the trio of Di Fiore, Adrian Moring on acoustic bass and Billy Test on piano. This is music that has some debt to the classic Evans and Bley trios (and then some of the early Tyner outfits too) in the subtle finesse, harmonic richness and/or contemporary melodic-brittle qualities. The band can swing like mad and of course can settle into a dreamily sophisticated reverie. Or they can straddle in the territory that combines both. They do that sometimes.

Each player makes an excellent contribution. Jon's drumming bears close attention. Billy Test channels in his own way the sensitive pianism of the tradition. Adrian Moring has the beyond-walking presence we would expect.

But the compositions stand out, too. "Demise" is an excellent reworking of a Chopin Prelude. Other pieces have various dedications, to family and loved ones but also to the music of North Africa, Spain, minimalism, Guillermo Klein.

It is music in the grand tradition of the modern piano trio, and a very good addition to it at that. Listen and dig into it. It wears well.

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