Disk of 2024
Ray Gallon, Ron Carter & Lewis Nash- the “Grand Company” album- at Jazzy hour, January 16th, 2024
There are many, very many, perhaps too many formulas for piano trios. There are many because it is normal to be so, it is a balanced and attractive formula. They can be too many when they multiply irregularly, copy each other, and most of them don't say much. We stick with a few that we choose to encompass as well as possible the scope and possibilities through which a piano, a double bass, and a drummer can perpetuate uniqueness. One of my favorite formulas, distinctive and inimitable, is formed by pianist Ray Gallon, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Lewis Nash. The expression is clear and elegant. Ray Gallon's music is personal, created by an informed and passionate artist. Everything related to him is top-notch. The pianist possesses an unique rhythmic imagination, at the level of carefully chosen rhythmic sections, built on an impressive vocabulary.
The company in which he performs is representative. The touch of Louis Nash, the color of his phrasing, his framing within the orchestration and his amazing technique place him amongst the best drummers in the world. As for Ron Carter, what more is there to say? He is the supreme drummer of more generations. His musical innovation still inspire the future of music. That's why this album is called "Grand Company". It is open to us, sophisticated, transparent, and of a rare beauty which transforms it into a treasure for any jazz lover. Everything has meaning because we can immediately feel how clear the musicians understand the requirements of each piece. It's spontaneous, illustrious, without hesitation.
In the second part, I bring good news from the local scene, more specifically an excellent product of an ensemble from Romania. A well-formed group with excellent pieces under an inspired title. Saxophonist Cătălin Milea already has four albums released and a diverse catalog of his own compositions. His instrumental creativity places him comfortably on the European stage, and his new album, "Tetrismatic," can, in turn, be placed in the collection of good albums for the year 2023. It is well-written, carefully produced, and reflects the times we live in. The instrumentalists organize themselves well around the pieces and contribute to the music with an energetic pulse and inspired improvisations.
We can imagine a Tetris game that challenges our concentration to fit the rapidly moving pieces into a solid and coherent structure. Alongside Cătălin Milea, we find Liviu Negru on guitar, Adrian Flautistu on double bass, and Iulian Nicolau on drums. Their work is admirable in the way they have correlated their experience into a new style, formed from electric and acoustic elements, classical and modern influences, jazz and rock, a broad spectrum of expression outlined through unison and discreet lines that reveal forms. Like the game, the changes surprise us, the moods shift rapidly, and the movement stimulates us. The difference from the game is that by listening to this album, you can only come out as a winner.