Arild Anderson, doublebass; Vassilis Tsabropoulos, piano; John Marshall, drums – The Triangle – ECM

by | Oct 20, 2011 | Jazz CD Reviews

Arild Anderson, doublebass; Vassilis Tsabropoulos, piano; John Marshall, drums – The Triangle – ECM Records 1752, 53:26 *****:
This rare find carries a 2004 release date; don’t know why it just now came across my desk, but I’m overjoyed to discover it. It strikes me as the best piano trio release I’ve heard all year. Anderson’s trio is in the Scandinavian/North European mold of a very subdued lyricality—no big explosions of sound or funky, bluesy swinging sections, but the sort of super-thoughtful improvisation that invites listening to again and again.
All three players are superb in their contributions to the whole. It’s usually the drummers who I like least in piano trios, but Marshall is very sensitive and subtle and moves the trio along with grace and skill. Anderson plays most of his bass lines as real standout solos, not just a thumping base to the piano improvisations. I hadn’t before heard pianist Tsabropoulos, but he’s just as good at the pensive, classically-influenced sort of piano improvisation as Tord Gustavsen and other ECM keyboardists of the same ilk.
The big hit for me on this disc is the second track: a marvelous musing on Faure’s famous Pavane—an absolutely first-rate improvisation that makes most jazz versions of classical themes sound corny and obvious. The track Lines will remind one of Chick Corea, and is another of my favorites on the CD. The piano sound is of course exemplary, as always on the ECM label.  When you’re in the mood for an introverted, pensive but highly lyrical piano trio, this is the disc to turn to.
TrackList: Straight, Pavane, Saturday, Choral, Simple Thoughts, Prism, Lines, European Triangle, Cinderella Song.
—John Henry

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