Creative Jazz Club – Eve de Castro-Robinson
Interesting band name and title on this album by a jazz trio out of Canada.
Interesting because the guitarist/composer in this bass-less line-up – guitar, piano and drums – is Keith Price, now a lecturer in the School of Music at the University of Auckland . . . which is sort of the antipodes of Winnipeg, and certainly upside downwards on the globe from there.
This album – released in Canada in March – has been picked up for distribution in New Zealand by Auckland’s Rattle label which is a show of interest by them in Price who will be recording new material for the label in the future.
And doubtless he will record with some from the uni jazz school who have already made award-winning albums for Rattle.
There is a subtle balance of space and energy on these seven originals by the band members (three written by Price) which will be appealing for those who have ECM in their DNA, especially albums from the warmer end of their sometimes frosty catalogue.
The absence of bass gives an unanchored freedom to this music which explores serious free interplay on the almost quizzical Halfway Three. It builds from stabbing piano and eddies of drums to a three-way tussle when Price enters with flickering figures before things quietly resolve into melodic minimalism with Price’s impressively measured, glistening sound teased out into essences. It’s an an approach echoed by pianist Jeff Presslaff, originally from Manhattan where he worked with the likes of Ed Blackwell, Roswell Rudd, Stanley Jordan and other name players as well as holding a lengthy catalogue of his own album.
On Presslaff’s Tearsilver however you can hear an arrangement and melody which could effortlessly be orchestrated from its seemingly simple chords into something more expansive as the drums of Graydon Cramer — an educator and band leader – gently swells behind the piano and Price plays with that kind of spare elegance you could hear from someone like Mick Goodrick or a young post-fusion Larry Coryell.
The title of the lengthy and leisurely Urgency Not Immediacy here is perhaps slightly misleading, because this is an album where haste is largely absent (even on When the Wild Man Makes an Appearance with Price in Bill Frisell territory, or the slightly quirky Max Headroom). This suits quiet time spent.
A very interesting calling card announcing Keith Price.
w/ Mostyn Cole & Rhohil Kishore
w/ Kevin Field & Oli Holland
The Winnipeg Free Press
Local guitarist Keith Price has had some excellent releases over the years that reflect various aspects of his restless musical and compositional styles. This new release is a fine trio album with Jeff Presslaff on piano and Graydon Cramer drums. Within a constantly engaging improvisational interplay, it is a compelling mix of melodic, almost new age or minimalist moments and fiery free-wheeling patterns. The trio is extremely egalitarian, and Price is generous in his writing as well as his playing. Presslaff is quite extraordinary on piano throughout. The album opens with 6 Chords Commentary featuring a very quiet statement by Presslaff before the trio winds up to drive that statement forward. Angular tracks like The Halfway Three lead into gentle melodic tunes like Tearsilver. The minimalist sense is often marked by repeated phrases that allow time and space for improvisation. Cramer’s drumming is perfectly matched to the tone of the trio, and their collective sensitivity is tangible. I think at times we all tend to look far afield to find examples of simply top notch jazz when we should pay closer attention to how we are blessed with the talent here at home. This album stands up to any wider comparisons. Repeated listenings only deepen the intensity and/or the sense of peace in these tracks. I can only hope Trio Antipodes keeps playing and recording.
The band has been on a brief tour, but will be at the Centre Culturel Franco- Manitobain for Mardi Jazz on April 2nd.
Rated – ****
Stream these – The Halfway Three, Living With Loss Keith Black