Sai Ghose Trio: E-Motion (2004)
When I reviewed Sai Ghose's previous Summit release, Fingers and Toes, I said it had "vibrant energy" with "strong, catchy melodies." The same things apply to this new one, E-motion, which is also full of singable, lingering tunes that practically beg for lyrics. Always a strong composer, Ghose has maturedon E-Motion his intriguing mood and tempo shifts have become discrete movements within a piece.
For example, "Only to Depart" begins with Ghose playing a dark, intense bass line. When he adds the treble, he creates a classical, contrapuntal landscape; a brief solo section leads gracefully into a fanciful soft-shoe tempo and a wholly different feel, and then the sequence is reversed. "Until Then" and "Round and Square" go through intriguing changes as well, and the vibrant title track is brilliantly constructed.
Ghose lets lots of fresh air into his playing, which is straightforward and emotionally expressive. "A Clearer Future" has a rising melody that conveys hope, while the track called "The Hope" conveys the ambivalence of wishing and doubting at the same time. When he does include a standard, his approach is uniquenote the surprisingly cheerful take on "Black Orpheus," with its subtle echoes of "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To." Also new is the inclusion of tenorist Sean Berry on four tracks, a fine player who adds passion and texture.
It's likely that the quirky, determined movement of "Little Monster" refers to one of Ghose's three young children, although on his web site they look beautiful and angelic. The site also lists upcoming gigs at Yoshi's and Sculler's, which indicates that Ghose is beginning to get the exposure he so clearly deserves.
E-Motion is not your everyday trio or predictable set: this music is inviting, innovative, and always interesting.
Track Listing: Little Monster, The Hope, Black Orpheus, Only to Depart, A Clearer Future E-Motion, Round and Square, Until Then
Personnel: Sai Ghose (piano), Jerry Wilfong (bass), Mike Connors (drums), Sean Berry (tenor sax, four tracks)