Nikki Iles/Duncan Hopkins/Anthony Michelli: Everything I Love (2004)
The musicians who have influenced pianist Nikki Iles come in varying temperament. They include Bill Evans, John Taylor and John Abercrombie. There can be no gripe with that focus, particularly when the music on this recording is presented in evidence.
This piano trio works well. Iles has toured with Duncan Hopkins and Anthony Michellithe two have developed a fine working relationship setting up the rhythm for other musiciansand the closeness they have established is manifested right through. This gives the tunes a distinct edge and no matter whose compositions they get into, they peg it right in the middle and raise it to a delightful level of accomplishment.
Iles creates interesting harmonic structures. She pushes, prods and builds tension, which she releases gently, a gentle sigh in the field of her imagination. She ambles along merrily on "Ambleside Days" and then cuts into the tempo to traipse lightly. She gradually shifts the scope, reigniting the melody with the change of pace letting a flurry of notes build a tauter edifice. Michelli cues in, cymbals and rims adding a vibrant liveliness. This is quite the contrast to "Your Story," where she plays with an assured grace as she gets into the emotional coreand with Hopkins and Michelli offering firm support, they turn this one into a riveting piece.
Iles wrote two of the songs here. "So To Speake" is a ballad, short and sweet, and the up-tempo "Fly's Dilemma," which careens along brightly, is a happy tune that gets its zip from Iles, who keeps the momentum propelling forward. At the end of it all, this is a rewarding experience!
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Track Listing: Everything I Love; Ambleside Days; Orbit; I Loves You Porgy; So To Speake; Fly's Dilemma; Your Story; Evansong; Don't Forget The Poet; Remember Hymn
Personnel: Nikki Iles-piano; Duncan Hopkins-double bass; Anthony Michelli-drums