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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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Second Language – David Gordon Trio.

David Gordon (piano); Ole Rasmussen (bass); Paul Cavaciuti (drums)
rec. Livingston Studios, London, July 2007 

ZAH ZAH ZZCD 9827 [69:22]



Drummer Boy
Second Language
Who Can Sail Without Wind?
Peer Pressure
Finding a Way
The Split Infinitive
September Moon
What Is This Thing Called Love?
Encore Piece


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.

Jonathan Woolf

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