Review: Frank Harrison Trio - Sideways
|Artist:||Frank Harrison Trio|
|Date of Release:||2012/01/05|
|Country of Release:||UK|
|Sub-Genre/s:||Contemporary, Swing, Post-bop, Bop, Straight-ahead|
|Date of Review:||2012/01/02|
Released on 5th January on the Linus label, Sideways is the Frank Harrison Trio's latest offering set to blow our minds. It has been some considerable time since the last, but the wait has clearly been more than worthwhile.
In the meantime, there has been a slight, but remarkable, change of line-up in that bassist Davide Petrocca has taken over Aiden O'Donnell's former seat. Remarkable, because with this change the trio seems to have truly found its perfect line-up. One could hardly dream of a more perfect rhythm section than Petrocca's sensitive, inventive bass and Stephen Keogh's equally sensitive, inventive traps to complement piano genius Frank Harrison's peerless style. Harrison here proves yet again why he remains unmatched certainly in his generation and that following, with his immense imagination and inventiveness, harmonically as well as melodically, his incomparable musical sensitivity and super-sensitive touch, his inspiration and intuition, and originality, not to mention his virtuosity.
Sideways follows the pattern first seen on the Frank Harrison Trio's debut album First Light, in that it alternates standards with originals. Of the eight tracks, four are standards or classics, of the highest calibre one might add and including such favourites as Kosma's Autumn Leaves and Tom Jobim's Dindi, three are Harrison originals and another one a traditional folk one arranged by Harrison. The originals (and trad.) are a perfect match to the classics, able to stand up proudly to them, and fit together, well, there's just no other way of putting it, perfectly. Personally, I have always loved a good mix of standards and originals, and this album delivers this beautifully.
The title, Sideways, could hardly fit better, for here, Harrison presents a very much sideways take on the standards in particular, with highly creative and original interpretations. The aforementioned Autumn Leaves and Dindi stand out especially in this context, and if there are more original, inventive and fresher interpretations than these I have yet to hear them! The music tends to move from spacious, wide-open ballads through classically informed improvs to hard, intense swing.
Harrison simply blows the mind and fits happily alongside the piano greats of the past such as Tatum, Monk, OP and others, of whom he indeed so often reminds. But Sideways also, for the first time, shows a darker side of Harrison through as usual fiery, occasionally even fierce, improvs. The intuitiveness and empathy among the trio is uncanny, with out-of-this-world ensemble playing and superb soloing also from Petrocca and Keogh.
To even mention consistency is superfluous here. Sideways is as cohesive and coherent as one could wish for and simply brilliant in every way while always remaining beautifully accessible. It is also an utterly mesmerising album, as fresh as it is refreshing, and simply beautiful. It's that Harrison magic!
Surely the Frank Harrison Trio's Sideways is way, way beyond essential for any decent jazz collection, an absolute must have for any true jazz aficionado. Having sat on it here for a couple of months already, it has never stopped playing. Never will!
1. Autumn Leaves (Joseph Kosma) - 5:33
Frank Harrison Trio:
Frank Harrison - piano
Davide Petrocca - bass
Stephen Keogh - drums
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