This is ethereal, contemplative music played beautifully by the unusual combination of trumpet and guitar. Kris Tiner's tone is warm and full, and unusually gentle for a young brass player. He takes the lead most of the way, but Mike Baggetta's presence is continuous. Fitting the mood of the album, the guitarist often uses long-sustain sparsely-placed notes, whether accenting Tiner's solos or soloing himself. (Classical music fans will recognize the influence of composer Morton Feldman.)
"Bobo" opens with a mournful wail strongly reminiscent of Miles' Sketches of Spain. The entire track may remind you of that album, but it's quieter and played with rhythmic freedom rather than a steady pulse. Through much of the piece, Baggetta picks a simple bass-line. During his own solo, notes above that bass line come at a leisurely one every four seconds or so. The effect is mesmerizing. It's rare to hear young musicians who know how to grab listeners without wild flurries of speed or in-your-face dynamics.
Piano dominates most piano trios. (Maybe that's why they don't call it a drum or bass trio, eh?) Thing is, this group is just called "a trio." Although the piano does carry most of the melody line, the blend and sound levels make the three instruments as much equals as in any trio I've heard. It's like a single complex instrument that demands, and deserves, attention to all three musical strands. Leader Ethan Winogrand, has covered a lot of territory, both musical and geographic. In his teens he was a rock drummer. He came to jazz via the fusion group High Tide. His trio here is mainstream.
Barbara Jean started her professional music career as a country-rock bass player, and she used to kick "butt six nights a week in Phoenix trucker bars." Now in Buffalo, she has morphed into a song writer and singer in a style popular over 50 years ago; she cites "the tradition of Cole Porter and the Gershwins." Jean has a decent voice, a good ear, and an easy style with jazzy phrasing. Unfortunately, not all goes well with her first album. Sweet lives up to its name–too much so for most jazz fans. A few jolts inspired by that butt-kicking past would have improved the session and her song writing.
At fgitst, this sounds like John Moulder's session. He carries the melody and rides the slalom-like harmonic changes with unusual sureness and grace. But no, Larry Gray's the leader, wrote the tunes, skis the drifts with equal assurance, and has his fair shar of solo time. Charles Heath completes the trio with the assertive, yet supportive style of many of today's best drummers.
The prospects weren't promising—a rare combo mix, mostly original tunes, relatively unknown musicians, and a Scandinavian recording label. Shudder. The last group of young Northern Europeans I'd heard had me torn between boredom and suicide. Surprise! The trio sound works, the originals are strong, the musicians are first class, and the audio quality is just fine.
Electronic whiiiiiiiine! Clatter! Softer whiiine. Clopping of an uncoordinated, seven-legged pony. Screeech! Scrunch. Electronic drone. Yada, yada, yada. If that's your idea of either fun or how to extend the possibilities of trumpet playing, you'll love this album. Otherwise, for all but the most open minded-- or gullible-- this is noise. If you doubt my judgement, visit the Carrier Records site. It says, "We believe in noise."