Who Can Sail Without Wind?
Finding a Way
The Split Infinitive
What Is This Thing Called Love?
This is a slow burn disc. The last David Gordon Trio
album on Zah Zah that I heard was called Angel Eyes and the range
of influences cited included acoustic grooves, Celtic folk and baroque
music but the trick, if that’s the right word, is to ensure that the
material moves seamlessly through the music. This they did conspicuously
well. The slow burn here comes by way of the meditative start ensured
by Mantra. Funkier is Greenland where the trio’s corporate
and ensemble skills are heard vividly. There’s plenty of chordal lyricism
in Drummer Boy with its subtly underpinning bass line. The notes
speak of the baroque elements in the title track but they are assuredly
well submerged and, perhaps as one might expect, Who Can Sail Without
Wind? veers more toward plangency than sentimentally.
Folkloric spirit coalesces in Peer Pressure though
it’s never gauche or obvious whilst Finding a Way takes in a
reflective legato lyricism and hints at As Time Goes By. At this
point in the disc things comes more alive with the cimbalon-evoked spice
and paprika of Salsova in which Tango and Tzigane dance entwined,
before some perky ragtime intrudes leading to that seldom heard sub-genre,
the Tzigane Rag. One complaint; they should have reprised the opening
‘cimbalon’ to complete the circle. A samba builds up expansion tension
in The Split Infinitive and by this point the band is cooking,
What Is This Thing Called Love? is the only standard – there
really should be more – but it emerges pumped up, juiced like a gym
bunny. The weirdly recorded and utilitarianly titled Encore Piece
finishes everything in a folkloric vamp.
I was slightly less taken by this disc than the previous
album. Once it got going there was no stopping it but there were rather
too many listless longeurs early on. More standards would instil rigour
or give the band something to kick against, Bad Plus style.