DownBeat March 2021

Sixty years ago, Evans recordedmostly famil- iar songs, but Piet used only conceptual prompts, such as “open fifths,” “inside the piano” and “within one octave” as the basis for each of the 15 constructs on (pentimento) . He completed each piece stacking three sequential passes without relistening to the already inscribed tracks, relying on memory for what he’d just done and instinct for immediate reactions. There’s no post-improv editing. These are discrete and varied sonic events, rather than developed or connected themes, and Piet’s music here (he’s led or been featured on some two dozen albums since 2014) is more often gestur- al, adventurous and exploratory than self-reflec- tive or notably systematic. But it’s his imaginative range that’s beguiling. “To Elijah” is almost con- ventionally beautiful and “Plod On As One” is church-like, yet other tunes are eerie under-the- lid forays, reorienting the piano as a harp, wind- chimes, finger-cymbals or balafon. Spontaneity is this album’s watchword and self-involvement its discipline, yet some of these improvisations have moments that could be dis- tilled, their implications hinting at works to come.  —Howard Mandel (pentimento): OnlyAPhase; Alt-Man; Swipe Left; HandsOf Time; A(Whole)Nother Thing; Fluster Cuck; 750ML.; HeldHostage; DanseMacabre; Insense; ToElijah; SayOn; ThePower AndThe Freedom;MomentoMori; PlodOnAsOne. (29:07) Personnel: Matt Piet, piano. Ordering info:

Petr Cancura/Charlie Hunter/Geoff Clapp Don’t Let It Stop! ROOTS2BOOT 20-11 HHH 1/2 Saxophonist Petr Cancura has a sound and approach not unlike Jan Gabarek. Many of the tunes the bandleader wrote for this live trio date come off like they could have been from a Gabarek-featuring ’70s quartet helmed by Keith Jarrett: blues and gospel grooves occasionally laced with jazz-centric harmonies, finished off with one-chord vamps. Other influences abound. “Soulidity” sports a Horace Silver-ish Latin-rock boogaloo vibe. “Country Song” is a loping slice of Americana, reminiscent of Bill Frisell’s memorable guitar/ saxophone/drums trio with Joe Lovano and Paul Motian. Charlie Hunter does a great Frisellian impression here, while also handling the bass part on his modified guitar. Hunter’s a pioneer of the style, his uncanny skills utilized to the full- est on “Gettin’ Ready” and the title track, where his ability to lay down such a heavy bass groove alongside perfect double-time guitar riffs defies explanation. Hunter hooks up nicely with drum- mer GeoffClapp, whomeasures out just the right blend of colorful attitude and sonic sensitivity. But it’s Cancura who is the heart and soul of this project. An avid student of American blues and folk, he learned how to play mandolin and banjo, an extreme commitment for a saxophonist who emigrated to Canada from Eastern Europe. But Cancura’s jazz pedigree peeks out from time to time, as he remains impressively focused on the integrity of the music, sticking to bluesy growls, flutter tonguing and altissimo playing that’s less Lovano and more Lenny Pickett. And in this context, that’s a thing that should be trea- sured for as long as possible.  —Gary Fukushima Don’t Let It Stop!: Soulidity; BoogieNights; Gettin’ Ready; Don’t Let It Stop!; Country Song; ChugChug; There Is AChance; Here To Stay; GoodTimes. (106:59) Personnel: Petr Cancura, tenor saxophone; CharlieHunter, guitar; Geoff Clapp, drums. Ordering info:

Matt Piet (pentimento) AMALGAM029 HHHH

Chicago pianist Matt Piet set himself a tough challenge to overcome a creative block and “men- tal collapse,” resulting from accumulated prob- lems—but triggered directly in 2018 by the death of his hero, Cecil Taylor. Borrowing a structural strategy from Bill Evans’ innovative 1963 album Conversations WithMyself , Piet spent a day over- dubbing improvisation upon improvisation to create keyboard works no single player—or even three together—ever could accomplish.

Javier Subatin Trance EARS&EYES 20-124 HHH 1/2

The title of guitarist Javier Subatin’s Trance is a slight misnomer. This collection of thematically interconnected “Trance” pieces all are based on short recurring phrases, while some also connect to his South American roots. For his trio, this means a wide array of improvisational possibili- ties. But far fromconveying a trance-like ormed- itative vibe, the sharpmovements feel energizing. Subatin was born in Argentina and its rhythms underlie some tracks here, in particular “Trance#5,” which reflects the 6/8 Argentinian dance called the chacarera as its movements cre- ate a sense of tension within wide open spaces. Saxophonist Daniel Sousa is by turns angular and lyrical as he builds lines alongside Subatin’s vibrato, especially on “Trance#1.” While drum- mer Diogo Alexandre frequently takes a quiet approach, he makes his presence felt, redirecting “Trance#8” from the background. Even though “Solo#2” originated from the guitarist’s want- ing to play unaccompanied, the resulting perfor- mance is another example of the group’s cohesion with Subatin and Sousa’s shifting call-and-re- sponse. Sousa’s soaring lead atop Subatin’s crash- ing chords during the concluding “Trance#4”

provides an extroverted conclusion. The pur- pose of the nonsequential numbering system on Trance remains mysterious, but this riddle is one more reasonwhy the albumcalls for repeated lis- tens. Along with Subatin’s compositions, his trio interprets Duke Ellington’s “C Jam Blues,” fol- lowing a similar game plan of compressing the piece into a small repeating theme. In this sparse rendition, the group still swings, but does so its own way.  —Aaron Cohen Trance: Trance#1; Trance#8; Trance#2; Solo#2; Trance#5; CJam Blues; Trance#4. (55:14) Personnel: Javier Subatin, guitar; Daniel Sousa, alto saxophone; DiogoAlexandre, drums. Ordering info:


Powered by