Thursday, August 10, 2017
Art Fristoe Trio, DoubleDown
An example springs forward for our consideration right now. It is a double CD by pianist Art Fristoe and his trio. Double Down (Merry Lane Records 2-CDs) is the album by name. It pits the very inventive pianistic and electric pianistic stylistics of Art Fristoe with the totally appropriate accompaniment of electric bassist Tim Ruiz and drummer Daleton Lee or Richard Cholakian. Ilya Janos joins the three on percussion for several cuts as well.
There is strength and interpretive, inventive poetry to be heard in the judicious and appealing mix of Fristoe originals and standards from a wide spectrum of possibilities old and newer. So we get "Alone Together" and "Caravan" but also "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Blackbird."
What is a constant is the rightness and creativity of the arrangements, with sometimes a jazz-rock tinge, other times a central swingingness, the cohesiveness of the trio and Art Fristoe's piano strengths. He can solo in a neo-bop post-early Corea zone, do some very interesting block and semi-block interpretations and combine a vertical harmonic development and convincingness with a line and melody-interpretive zoning that marks him as very musical in the best jazz-sensible ways. And Art can sing nicely, too. Listen to "Blackbird!"
The music comes across as something accessible to many, yet a fully pleasurable outing for even the most discerning among us. Good going!