Friday, March 4, 2016

Michael McNeill Trio, Flight

Pianist-composer Michael McNeill has been busy as an important member of the Buffalo music scene for a number of years. He also leads a very potent trio with Ken Filiano on bass and Phil Haynes on drums. They put out an album, Passageways, in 2011, and now they are back with Flight (self-released).

Based on the new one, I am sorry to have missed the first. This one is filled with ultra-modern trio jazz that has gritty, pointed, harmonically advanced qualities in a post-Corean sort of way (in the classic trio era), and a bit of early Jarrett and classic Herbie rechanneled, a beautifully swinging-free Filiano and Haynes and some striking piano "blowing."

Phil Haynes gives us his very smart drumming in abundance and Ken Filiano is ideal for what he does as well as how it fits. Both solo nicely, too!

Ultimately, though, it is McNeill's compositions and concepts, his pianistic advance that completely carries the day. It goes from adventurous new music ruminations to wildly swinging postbop and as it does, it seals the music with a irreplaceable fingerprint.

This is the sort of music that reminds us, as we are in the thick of mechanical and now digital reproduction, that the art of jazz resists homogenization, standardization and cloning in the best examples. For piano trios, the McNeill outfit as heard on the new album is one-of-a-kind, enormously talented and pushing the boundaries of the art in the best ways.

I am very happy to have this one! I think you'd be, too. Check it out.

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