Primary Colors

Past Present & Future

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Primary Colours is a piano trio consisting of pianist Gerard D'Angelo, bassist Frank Wagner and drummer Dave Meade. Their debut release finds the group improvising together as near-equals in the manner of the Bill Evans Trio. D'Angelo has been clearly touched by the latter's chord voicings (Evans, who passed away in 1980, is still the biggest influence on acoustic pianists) but sometimes shows touches of McCoy Tyner (most notably on "Afro Blue") and sounds more original on the Latin-tinged pieces. He leaves space in his playing for Wagner's stimulating and swinging basslines, and Meade is supportive while keeping the music from becoming too relaxed or safe. The group stretches out on two originals (Wagner's jazz waltz "Madaleine" is strong enough to possibly become a standard) and such tunes as "Con Alma" (an inventive rearrangement of Dizzy Gillespie's song), "Afro Blue," "Jeannine," "Lazy Afternoon" and pieces by Larry Willis, Ray Bryant, Billy Taylor and even Paul McCartney ("My Love"). The musical communication between the three players (who have obviously played together quite a bit) is impressive and the music is easy to enjoy. Despite the CD's title, this is not really music of the future but of the modern mainstream of the 1990s. It is worth picking up by fans of the idiom.

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