In Charlie Parker's Constellation," the trio's unity coalesces around swirls of sound spinning out of I Got Rhythm" harmonies and suggesting the subject of the piece's title. How Deep is the Ocean" builds--and builds--and builds--on Irving Berlin's melody and chord changes, taking both into realms of complexity that Berlin never imagined when he wrote the song in 1932. Duke Ellington's Take the Coltrane" is as a free as a blues can be and still be the blues. Of Galper's original compositions, the title of Rapunzel's Luncheonette" stimulates nearly as many images as the piece itself. The modal energy in his left hand supports wild sorties by the right up and down the keyboard. If McCoy Tyner happens to hear the piece, I should imagine he'll be grinning.
Dedicated to Michael Brecker, Soliloquy" is the kind of ballad the late tenor saxophonist thrived on, blending lyricism, nostalgia and power. Johnson's solo is a high point of the album. Wandering Spirit," floating through a harmonic sequence that is less plain that it first seems, gathers intensity through Galper's solo, subsides during a superb Johnson solo, and wanders away on Bishop's cymbal splashes. Invitation to Openness" suggests spontaneous mutual invention, with lines from the three musicians swimming and leaping together like dolphins at play.
Next time: More trios, in brief