Arild Andersen - Paolo Vinaccia - Tommy Smith
"But the sheer depth and lustre of this trio's sound can invite you to start purring in grateful imitation." GUARDIAN
"with Mira, the possibilities possess an evolved simpatico, greater attention to space and more expansive, expressive vernacular." ALLABOUTJAZZ
"It is Andersen's skill as a composer of ballads that provides it's strongest cornerstone." INSTRUMENTAL
⑦ Le Saleya
⑩ Eight and More
Arild Andersen (double bass, electronics), Paolo Vinaccia (drums), Tommy Smith (tenor saxophone, shakuhachi flute)
After the eruptive excitement of their Live at Belleville album, which was widely praised around the world (and secured for leader Arild Andersen the Prix du Musicien European 2008 from the Academie du Jazz in France), illustrious Norwegian bassist Andersen, tenorist Tommy Smith and drummer Paolo Vinaccia now deliver a studio album. In Oslo's Rainbow, the trio rechanneled their music's energies into a programme of soulful ballads and mid-tempo freefloating sound explorations.
The pairing of Andersen's muscular bass and Smith's vaulting tenor is exceptionally compelling (as the recent "Celebration" album also confirmed) and Vinaccia's approach to ballad-playing is like nobody else's. Most of the tunes on Mira are from Arild's pen, though his cohorts also contribute material, with Smith switching to shakuhachi for an improvised dialogue with Vinaccia on "Raijin". Tommy Smith also shines on Burt Bacharach's "Alfie", a tune the trio have been playing as an encore in concerts, savouring the prettiness of the melody.
Trio leader Andersen has played in almost every jazz ensemble context over the years, but there is something especially satisfying about hearing him in the bare boned trio format of sax, bass and drums. For long-time Andersen listeners this trio will also trigger memories of Arild in the early 1970s, with the Triptykon-trio with Garbarek and Vesala, and the Sam Rivers Trio. The absence of a harmony instrument opens up new space for creative interplay and the three musicians, listening acutely, use it very well.