Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Michael Bisio Trio, Composance, 2003

Composance (Cadence Jazz Records 1173) comes out of the bassist/composer's Seattle days. It is an intimate trio date with Rob Blakeslee on trumpet, Greg Campbell on drums (and a cameo appearance on French horn) and of course Michael on bass. Michael wrote most of the pieces, the title cut is a collective collaboration, there's a classic Duke item, and there's one piece each by Rob and Greg.

The primary emphasis is on blowing loose and coherently, and that is most definitely happening here. It's a good mix of distinctive players. Rob has obviously listened to Don Cherry and Bill Dixon (and who hasn't?), which in part comes out in his sound, but the notes are his and help define the music played on the date. Greg Campbell has an excellent presence here, a melodic sense and the ability to loosen the time or notch it in. Michael whether bowing or pizzing has a mastery and projective melodic inventiveness that rivals the very best--because he is up there as part of the very best. His tone is beautiful too!

What's most important for the listener is that this is excellent modern jazz that hangs together throughout, grooves and takes it out a bit, and has a very engaging melodic and textural heft to it. The trio version of Ellington's "Come Sunday," where Campbell adds french horn to Michael's bowed bass and Rob's trumpet is a sign of the very real versatility of the group and has a beauty that's chamber-like and soulful too.

You could just listen to Bisio's bass on this CD and get off on that. Open your ears to all three working together and you will hear why the improvisatory arts are exciting and worthy of your attention! Well worth your time.

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