Elegant, cerebral piano trio jazz in the classic post-bop style, the debut album by pianist Ron Thomas (with Paul Klinefelter on acoustic bass and Joe Mullen on drums) is no mere dinner music set. A set of six originals structured as a sort of jazz sonata, Music in Three Parts is challenging but not difficult; there is little improvisation on display beyond some particularly extravagant bass flourishes by Klinefelter on the opening "Impromptu" and some discreet solo fills by Thomas on the playful "Caprice," but Music in Three Parts isn't some staid third-stream effort straining under the weight of its own solemnity. Thomas is too cannily melodic a player to get lost in the weeds during his solo showcases, and the rhythm section matches his lightness of tone with their own fluid, swinging attack. Proof that proper modern jazz can be appealing to an audience that doesn't know the MJQ from the AACM, Music in Three Parts neither panders nor overwhelms.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason