Misha Mengelberg

Who's Bridge

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Dutch pianist Mengelberg is in full reverie with this trio. He is teamed with Americans Brad Jones (bass) and Joey Baron (drums), who pretty much act as Mengelberg's supporting cast, never getting too rhythmically flashy. The pianist's sound is a witty combination of modern harmonic invention and melodic improvisational forays into Cecil Taylor territory. Many tuneful compositions crop up during the 11 tracks, all Mengelberg originals. The title cut sounds like a newborn standard, a nice swinger that leads to a bridge with frantic Taylor-like flourishes. Mengelberg's main influence, Herbie Nichols, comes shining through during another nice swinger, "Gare Guillemans," which features soulful touches and advanced harmonic nuances. The opening track, "Rollo II," starts off raucously before merging into a quaint swing reminiscent of "Tea for Two." "Rollo III" is bluesier and more Nichols-like. "A Bit Nervous" has a skittish calypso beat accented by Sunny Murray-ish piano. The lone solo piano number, "Peer's Counting Song," evokes the elegance of Ellington, the angularity of Monk, and the dark, rambling harmonics of Mal Waldron. Most fun is "Elevator," with Jones' twittering bass, Baron's tom-tom beat, and Mengelberg's dynamic piano. Each composition is a great example of the pianist's enormous musicianship. This is Mengelberg's finest hour.

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