Jackson Harrison Trio

Land Tides

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The instant one hears the opening refrains of the cut "Haven" on Australian pianist Jackson Harrison's debut CD, one thing comes to mind: the ECM school. The serene, pastoral, spacious, atmospheric sound of the European label founded by Manfred Eicher is unmistakably evident in Harrison's trio concept, which is not surprising considering his heroes are Bill Evans and Harrison's mentor, Mike Nock. But as one navigates through Land Tides, you realize he is not only taking those elements to heart, but adding on. Yes, there's the floating-in-the-clouds cerebralness of "Music to Forget," and the Nock-y minimalism inherent in "Dreamed Landscape" and spiritualized treatise "Ajanta." A straight jazz waltz swaps places with ‘60s modality back and forth during "Rivers and Oceans," witty, deft, purposeful call-and-response bass and piano defines "Strafe," and a repeated two-chord melody anchors the exploratory title track. This is not the first jazz album your parents made love to in the early ‘70s, but it might be one to consider nowadays. Drummer Dan Weiss is the difference, as his crackling, witty and wise snare drum accents and gently surging cymbalistics are at once attentive and amazing. Bassist Thomas Morgan turns the lamp down low, but never extinguishes the flame. These cats are not from down under, but New York City, and it shows in their clear sensible, big city street smart approaches. This music is deep, introspective, intelligent beyond the young years of the players, and not tame or lame on any level. A beautiful opening statement, Harrison's project comes recommended, and should easily appeal to listeners of the current crop of contemporary jazz pianists like Marilyn Crispell, Robert Glasper, Bert Seager, Martin Bejerano, Marcin Wasilewski, Esbjörn Svensson, Bobo Stenson, Frank LoCrasto, Jason Lindner, et al.

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