Thursday, March 13, 2014

'Limitless': Jazz trio as delicious treat

By BRAD WEISMANN

Limitless
Stranahan/Zaleski/Rosato
Capri Records
2013




“There is still much good music that can be written in C major.” – Arnold Schoenberg

What does jazz have to do to get your attention? Before you throw a bunch of stats at me about how jazz is coming back, don’t. Among the great unwashed, it’s considered a dead-end genre, a played-out seam of reward.

Of course, this means that the impetus for development must derive entirely from the musicians. In this marginalized music, innovation is a function of need. This new CD I’ve been playing over and over is grounded solidly in traditional form, but takes free flight whenever necessary, landing again as adroitly as a seabird on a beach. That “Limitless” is so widely expressive and listenable testifies to the abilities of this jazz trio of coloring both inside and outside the lines, to great effect.

“Limitless,” the second collaboration by drummer Colin Stranahan, pianist Glenn Zaleski, and bassist Rick Rosato, is a solid, elegant, thought-filled journey through three acute sensitivities yoked in sound. Capri’s top-notch studio techniques give every nuance – very necessary for musicians that work as subtly as these do.

The attack is pointillistic, founded on Stranahan’s light touch behind the drum kit. Zaleski’s piano varies block chords and loose meanders of melody. Rick Rosato is not only rock-solid on the bass, but emits bursts of lyricism in pieces such as his composition “Vio” on the recording.

The result is crisp, fractal, chewy, music that rewards frequent listens. From the nimble antics of the opening title track to the booming, solemn chords of “Chorale (for Fred Hersch)” at the close, “Limitless” is its own reward.

LISTEN: The trio performing "Forecast" from the recording at Dazzle jazz club in Denver, Colorado, on Nov. 1, 2013!

)