Spike Wilner Trio – Odalisque – CellarLive CL120416 61:26****
Expressive interplay, while impromptu, is not without direction
(Spike Wilner – piano; Tyler Mitchell – acoustic bass; Anthony Pinciotti – drums)
Synchronicity means “meaningful coincidences” and as such, could well apply to the lives of musicians/entrepreneurs Spike Wilner and Cory Weeds. Both are jazz musicians, record label owners, club owners both present and past, and have a high regard for each other in all these capacities. Although they live thousands of miles apart, they are willing to create opportunities that bring them together. In this case it is the recording of Odalisque in Vancouver BC for Weeds’ label CellarLive, during a tour of the area by Wilner’s trio that was sponsored by Weeds.
The music is exemplarly, along with being well-recorded at a private home in Vancouver BC in front of small and appreciative audience. The selection of compositions that was recorded was balanced between well-recognized American standards and several from the pen of pianist Wilner. The session opens with a Wilner original entitled “The Upasaka” which comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “lay devotee”. This is a delightfully inventive piece with an intricate introduction between Wilner and bassist Tyler Mitchell. The number has a hypnotic melody and is filled with tensile rhythmic devices.
The title track “The Odalisque” another Wilner composition, harkens to a category of paintings in which a mysterious and sultry woman is depicted languishing on a bed. This explanation is provided by Wilner in the liner notes. Wilner offers a musical portrait of this style with a slightly mid-Eastern frame which he expands with sweep and inquisitiveness as he covers the musical canvass. The two other Wilner compositions “Hopscotch” and “A Stitch In Time Saves Five” are rather more pedestrian offerings with neither the creativity nor panache of the other two numbers although they are still well-executed.
As for the covers, they provide Wilner and his cohorts with the structure to develop complex interactions with these standards. Starting with Walter Donaldson’s “You” which is taken at blistering pace pushed by bassist Mitchell and drummer Pinciotti. That they keep it up throughout the number is a tribute to their skill.
With the Harry Warren number “You’re My Everything” it starts out in a languid tempo as Wilner runs through the melody for the first time. After which the tempo picks up with a block chord take on the theme and then bassist Mitchell gives a primer on his authoritative playing. For the out chorus Wilner and the band change tempo gears several times to show their versatility.
The venerable “Sweet Georgia Brown” closes the set in sympathetic fashion as the Wilner trio shows they are a stylish and sure-footed aggregation. Drummer Pinciotti and pianist Wilner engage in a series of breaks that are attuned to each others style.
In this outing, the Spike Wilner Trio demonstrate that they have an expressive interplay, while impromptu, is not without direction.
Little Girl Blue
You’re My Everything
It’s The Talk Of The Town
A Stitch In Time Saves Five
Sweet Georgia Brown