Trio Antipodes: Upside Downwards (MAPL/Rattle)

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Max Headroom
Trio Antipodes: Upside Downwards (MAPL/Rattle)
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.

This album is available through Rattle here or on Spotify here

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