Gareth Williams Power Trio – Shock! – Linn Records Multichannel SACD AKD 326, 69:36 ****:
(Gareth Williams, Yamaha S6 keyboard & piano; Laurence Cottle, elec. bass; Ian Thomas, drums)
This Williams’ second disc for the Scottish audiophile label, and while by the album title tune it may remind one of The Bad Plus, it’s really not a louder and faster sort of piano trio. Williams lists some of his eclectic influences as tenor David Lloyd, Freddie King, Bil Evans, Thin Lizzy and Mahler. But this is a generally electric-sounding trio in that most of the tracks feature Williams on the Yamaha S6 with a Fender-Rhodes sort of sound, and his bassist is electric. However, the clean and spacious multichannel stage setting puts the three players clearly in front of the listener.
The title tune is a hard-hitting rock-influenced number with an insistent bass riff. Williams lists Led Zeppelin, Cream, Hendrix and James Brown among his thoughts on this one. But it’s still jazz improvisation. Evans The Piano is a tribute to Bill Evans, and being a Welshman explains the opening track as well as a later tribute to several Welsh poets who died in the two world wars. Seven Leaves not surprisingly quotes a bit of Autumn Leaves. There’s only a single non-original on the disc – a thoughtful acoustic piano version of John Coltrane’s Giant Steps. Laurence Cottle’s solos are a standout on the album. He also leads a big band, and I must say his lines stand out more distinctly than most acoustic doublebassist’s.
A Welshman in New York, Shock!, Giant Steps, Zelda, Seven Leaves, Keeping Up with Our Jones’s, Rocky Crater, Holey Moley, For Alun Lewis Hedd Wyn and the Others, 20 Years Later, Some In, Evans The Piano, Zed Blues.
– John Henry