Chris Cody

Midnight Tide

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

This superb recording finds Australian post-bop pianist Chris Cody leading an all-star quartet, including trombonist Glenn Ferris, drummer John Betsch, and bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel, with percussionist Epizo Bangoura sitting in on a couple of numbers. The pianist's sparse voicing and simple melodies belie an underlying turmoil and unreleased tension that bring out the best in his sidemen. The tunes posses a dark side, with the title piece, as an example, indulging in a mysterious, noir-ish bent, quiet yet unsettling. Although Cody never lets it explode, the rhythm section seems to always pursue the unexpected, with Avenel, in particular, keeping the listener on his toes. Although this is Cody's set, and he shows himself to be an excellent composer and a fine improviser, the most impressive work comes from Glenn Ferris, and his fans will not want to pass this one up, as it features some of his best soloing on disc. As the only horn, Ferris takes center stage, gurgling and purring, with notes cascading like horn-like bubbles from a water-pipe. Whether muted or open, the trombonist captures the moment with a thrilling, low-key ambience that fits the understated qualities of Cody's compositions without compromising their vitality. When the group enters the twisted realm of the all-too-short "Kill the Pig," with its back-and-forth swirling motion, there is a sense of bravura that soon dissipates. By the end of the album, you know you've heard something precious, delicate and often fragile, but very valuable. A minor gem.

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