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This Place by Scott Colley Trio

At the end of 1997, Scott Colley cut the sessions that comprise this album and his Criss Cross disc, SUBLIMINAL. Not much happened with either record (although THIS PLACE is just now seeing its American release) , yet it seems that the flood gates have recently opened for the 36-year-old bassist, as he has become one of New York's first-call players. As an outgrowth of his recorded work with the Harold Danko Quartet and several other sideman appearances on SteepleChase, THIS PLACE is a hardy and no-holds-barred type of affair that speaks volumes for Colley's aesthetics.

Any group that dispenses with a chording instrument, such as a piano or guitar, has the challenge of filling the space in a way that suggests the harmony while simultaneously keeping the listener's attention. When you've pared it down to the bare bones trio heard here (just saxophone, bass, and drums), it takes considerable poise to keep things accessible and engaging, yet that is exactly what Colley, Potter, and Stewart have done.

As if to establish a common ground, the opening "Mr. Day" speaks the message of the 12-bar blues and this trio wastes no time in setting up a sprightly tempo that bounces atop of Stewart's infectious drumming. With a robust and strapping sound, Potter makes the most out of each composition, be it the transformation of Rollins' "Airegin" into 5/4 meter or the whispered tones of "Long Lake." Other highlights from Potter include a major re-working of Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks" and the bellow of his bass clarinet on Monk's "Ugly Beauty."

Colley has his share of solo moments (and they are splendid), yet listen very carefully to how he interacts with Potter and Stewart. The three are closely listening to each other and commenting on the language of the moment in ways that always separates the highest order improvisation from merely the pedestrian. Although dense in spots, THIS PLACE will surely reward earnest and mindful listening with its adroit musical conversation.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Scott Colley Trio
  • CD Title: This Place
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 1998
  • Record Label: SteepleChase
  • Musicians: Scott Colley (bass), Chris Potter (tenor sax & bass clarinet), Bill Stewart (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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