John Key Trio: Back and Forth (Odd)

 |   |  1 min read

Slow Right Down
John Key Trio: Back and Forth (Odd)

Because there is so little money to be made out of releasing a local jazz album, you are surprised to find anyone bothering at all. And that may explain the nine year gap between this by Auckland pianist John Key and his previous release Whole (under the band name Strange Fruit).

That's a pity because here Key delivers a very good, straight-ahead piano trio album of all originals with bassist Mat Fieldes and drummer Jono Sawyer (with trumpet/flugel player Mike Booth on three tunes).

Wrapped in an attention-grabbing cover by Fane Flaws, these deft, sometimes gently swinging 10 pieces confirm not just Key's abilities at the piano but what a smart, economic writer he is.

There's an astute off-beat shuffle to The Green Bay Spaniard (with Booth), classic low-slung blues on the appropriately entitled Slow Right Down (which cries out for lyrics) and One Stop Drop eases into its eight minute-plus with a gorgeous, deliberately half-formed melody over arco playing by Fieldes before it quietly establishes its direction and momentum with the entry of Sawyer.

Various aspects of the blues are explored here as befits the predominant piano-bar-after-10pm mood, and pieces like the measured One Step Ahead of the Blues (again with Booth playing a clean, unadorned melodic line on flugel) are engaging for their understatement.

While nothing here will redefine your expectation of the piano trio, you'd have to concede music as spare and thoughtful as Warsaw 5am and the romantic Kaitarakihi are engaging for their stressless effortlessness and clarity of melody.

This is available on iTunes, but it's rather nicer to have it in that “Flaws after Frizzell” cover art of Horse Arranging Jugs and Fruit.



Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz at Elsewhere articles index

MIKE STERN INTERVIEWED (2013): Guitar to the stars . . . and Miles beyond

MIKE STERN INTERVIEWED (2013): Guitar to the stars . . . and Miles beyond

Guitarist Mike Stern spent time in Miles Davis bands in the early Eighties at a time when Davis – having been absent from the scene – was making yet another comeback. You'd think... > Read more

Bley, Swallow, Sheppard: Life Goes On (ECM, digital outlets)

Bley, Swallow, Sheppard: Life Goes On (ECM, digital outlets)

Now in her Eighties, the great composer/pianist/organist Carla Bley remains productive as a recording artist and here completes a trilogy of albums with her longtime trio of bassist/partner Steve... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Neil Young: On the Beach (1974)

Neil Young: On the Beach (1974)

By consensus the idealism of the 60s was dealt two fatal blows in late '69: the first in August when the victims of Charles Manson's murderous family started turning up in flash Hollywood homes;... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . CHANCE: Searching for the chancer

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . CHANCE: Searching for the chancer

Like the remarkable Vernon Dalhart who had numerous stage and recording names, the man born Chance Martin also used a lot of pseudonyms. Unfortunately unlike Dalhart (his extraordinary story is... > Read more