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Dave Burrell Full-Blown Trio
EXPANSION
(High Two)

A sensitive and original interpreter of Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton, as well as a free-jazz player with a clear sense of form and a wide lyrical streak, pianist Burrell has never fit into a neat category. His new trio with bassist William Parker and drummer Andrew Cyrille bridges the entire span of his music and brings it to life with exceptional vibrancy. The whole jazz tradition echoes throughout the collective free improvisation on the title track. Another free piece, "Double Heartbeat" has Burrellís lightly dancing touch spinning out one long continuously evolving line over the interweaving bass and drums. Parkerís rich, cello-like arco bass, with its resemblance to human sobbing, is featured in duet with the pianist on the wrenching "Crying Out Loud."

Burrell has always been one of the most history-conscious pianists associated with free jazz. His relaxed solo interpretation of the Irving Berlin standard "They Say Itís Wonderful" sticks close to the melody and displays his debt to Morton and the stride pianists. The trio meld bebop, stride, and free pulse into a rhythmically elusive blend on "Coup díÉtat." March rhythms form the basis for an alternately playful and menacing "About Face"; a lilting African-influenced pulse is the foundation of a serene "In the Balance." Thereís a gentle, almost unassuming, quality to Burrellís playing that belies his conceptual playfulness and formal rigor. In this trio with players of equal ingenuity, heís made what may be the best recording of his nearly 40-year career.

BY ED HAZELL


Issue Date: October 29 - November 4, 2004
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