Study of Light is a light and airy trio affair comprised of piano, bass and reeds. Lead by bassist Rick McLaughlin, long associated with the Either Orchestra, the disc is somewhat reminiscent of the Jimmy Giuffre Trios with Steve Swallow and Paul Bley with the exception that McLaughlin’s music is a bit more well behaved structurewise
Impressionistic might be another descriptor for this breezy music as McLaughlin arranges a Maurice Ravel piece ("Asserv Vif - Tres Rhythme") to open the disc. Jeremy Udden’s dry ice alto saxophone rides serpentine over the ragged terrain laid down by pianist Greg Burk and held together by McLaughlin’s sure time on the beat. Sam Jones’ tome to Oscar Pettiford, "o.p." is a lengthy bebop dissertation highlighted by Udden’s silky nervous soprano saxophone. McLaughlin solos widely, but not distastefully, allowing his cohorts equal time.
Jazz performed in small places, like this nonstandard trio, affords both the greatest freedoms and challenges to the musicians involved. Study of Light, considered as a suite, uniformly views the jazz landscape through soft illumination, providing the listener with a low-demand experience that is sure to please even the fussiest critic.