Marc Cary / Marc Cary Trio

Trillium

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Pianist Cary continues on his freshness quest with this CD where he works mostly in a piano-bass-drums trio format. Three of the nine cuts feature flutist Yarbrough Charles Laws, as Cary explores his interpretations of lesser-known modern jazz, a bop evergreen, and several of his originals. Cary wrote the title track in collaboration with his able confrères, bassist Taurus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits. It's a loosely associated melody simmering in light jungle butter. "Moment of Love" sports beauteous, patient modality with a repeated motif to improvise off of, swung well by Waits, who closes the case with his coda. Mateen contributes "Blues for Haseeb," a Herbie Hancock-type basic bop, 12-bar swinger with a cute little melody. The trio interprets Duke Pearson's "Minor League" offering an insistent, throbbing, one-note bassline with Cary's piano -- quite a different arrangement from the original (check out Grant Green's version). The stone-cold bop flagwaver "Little Willie Leaps" starts with Cary solo, then the band merges together with the leader's Monk-ish phraseology as Waits trades fours with brushes. Abbey Lincoln's "My Love Is You" is a solo piano ballad, almost classical in nature. The flute tunes are the deep, free, and diffuse midnight-blue ballad "New Prospective" (sic, perspective?) and the delicate, early-morning dewy, sunrise waltz "Peacemaker" by Cary with heavy harmonic overtones. The band saves the best for last on "King Tut's Strut," combining Egyptian inferences with a New Orleans calypso rhythm patented by Ed Blackwell. The brilliant flute work of Laws inspires spectacular fervor and joyous intensity from the band on this truly outstanding track that must be heard.

Cary is on a roll with some excellent recent recordings. His increasing confidence in his original approach to jazz piano becomes more evident as his discography swells. Highly recommended.

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