Trio Beyond: Saudades (2007)
It's interesting to note how many liner notes begin with variations upon the same story. A shared enthusiasm for a jazz icon or a similar approach to playing leads musicians for whom the very thought of collaborating seems uncanny to form a trio, a quartet, or what have you. The group is usually solid, with decent albums and worthy individual projects, but as a group, they lack a vein of originality.
Granted, this occurs in music as a whole, but the binding element in jazz is significantly different from the one in other genres like, say, pop. In the latter, artists brought together by a love for an artist often dress bare imitationenter the typical tribute bandin the garb of innovation and reverence . The cooling of said awe, if and when it happens, can result in the very core of the group dissipating quickly. Not so with Trio Beyond.
Trio Beyond, composed of John Scofield (guitar), Larry Goldings (Hammond organ, electric piano) and Jack DeJohnette (drums) is not only inspired but determined. The Trio's description of how they came together is simplethey were individually inspired by legendary drummer Tony Williams and others like him and became collectively enthralled in the creative process of playing together. DeJohnette, Scofield and Goldings are audacious and it is this audacity that enables them to play stuff by Miles, Coltrane and Williams with extraordinary dexterity and zeal.
Saudades is a prime example of what a trio can accomplish with admiration as a starting point and unbridled talent and ambition as springboards.
It is a double album, the first disc with six tracks and the second with five. Aside from the pragmatic considerations that may have led to this arrangement, there is an obvious thematic overflow in each disc. The first contains tracks like "Pee Wee, a Tony Williams composition (originally recorded by the Miles Davis Quintet in 1967 for the Sorcerer album on Columbia) that exudes joviality and fast, liquid-like melodies and "If, a pensive, if methodically upbeat, song.
On the second CD, "I Fall in Love Too Easily sets the tone for the entire record what with the slithering guitar notes and the structural beauty of the synchronized drum beats. The organ tinkling sounds muffled, clear, then seductively quiet. It is an experience unto itself.
With Saudades, Trio Beyond nods in the direction of greatness and presents an album that is original, tasteful and promises to withstand the test of time.
Track Listing: CD1: If; As One; Allah Be Praised; Saudades; Pee Wee; Spectrum. CD2: Seven Steps to Heaven; I Fall in Love Too Easily; Love in the Blues; Big Nick; Emergency.
Personnel: John Scofield: guitar; Larry Goldings: organ; Jack DeJohnette: drums.
Record Label: ECM Records