What does the color "orange" sound like? How about "olive"? Or "lavender"? If you can imagine trying to describe these colors and more to someone who has only seen the world in black-and-white, you may have an inkling about what it might be like to describe them musically. The phenomenal Dutch bandleader and pianist Michiel Braam takes his cue from spoken word guru Ken Nordine's well-known recording of vocal interpretations of 34 colors, from seeds he developed in commercials for the Fuller Paint Company. Of course, the piano trio's interpretations (as with Nordine's vocals) are highly subjective, and one person's take on "mauve" may sound like another's view of "russet," but that is not really the point. Braam knows as well as any that trying to associate a track with a particular color is largely idiosyncratic. What he does is to use the colors as starting points for his quirky compositions for trio. And what a trio it is! With the tastefully intrusive Michael Vatcher thrusting forward on percussion and the enigmatic Wilbert de Joode sliding up and down and around on string bass, Braam takes the listener on a journey through dark and light, with crushing enthusiasm and a subtle touch that translate his big-band compositions to a more intimate level. Whether composing for the seeming innocuousness of "beige" or the ambiguities of "grey," Braam is a master of crafty erudition. The results rival his best big-band works, with a sublime diversified spirit that inspires as it impresses.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy