By Tim Niland
The great bassist Mario Pavone combines his talents with two of the most prominent younger member of the progressive jazz scene, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Tyshawn Sorey for a truly inspired album that goes way beyond anyone’s notion of a jazz piano trio. “Suitcase is Savana” opens the album with the trio playing at a medium tempo. What makes this group so exciting throughout the album is their openness to doing the unexpected, as evidenced by the ripe piano playing against skittering drums tied together with thick bass. Sorey takes a solo toward the end of the performance, but he is never showy and fills this music with thoughtful rhythm. His brushes slow the pace on “Xapo” before moving back to sticks as swollen drops of piano notes fall from the sky. The trio plays confidently together and Pavone stakes his own claim, bubbling up over softer drumming. “Two One” has a darker and more urgent tone, it’s a fast and harder hitting track, giving the impression that something bad or unpleasant is going to happen. Pavone’s bass is the muscular glue that holds the band together. Mitchell takes a forceful and rippling solo, before the leaders own section, which exerts great force and pressure with the grace that he has developed through his long and successful carreer. Matt Mitchell’s thick and strong piano notes fall like a storm and ripple through the length of the keyboard on “Silver Print.” He is really reaching deep within himself and within his instrument for a potent statement. The music envelops the full trio in a whirlwind of fascinating sound. “Language” begins with everybody playing together in a very percussive nature, hollow sounding drums; pounding piano and thickly pulled bass. It moves into a series of solos: excellent bass, which is true and confident, probing mysterious piano and quickly fluid drumming. They are screaming hot on “Trio Dialect” playing as one single organism, improvising as one, amazingly locked in at this speed, Mitchell’s piano is fast and fleet, Sorey’s drumming is fast and nimble and Pavone’s bass is an absolute rock. The group is a little more fractured on the concluding track “Blue” swirling freely, and there is a great and well earned solo feature for Tyshawn Sorey where he is really going for broke driving everything relentlessly forward before the trio pulls back for a bass led ending. This was a wonderful album, not so much a meeting of master and pupils, but a true meeting of equals, all of which whom bring their extraordinary talent and play selflessly to great success.