Power Trio Mixes Old And New, And The Result Is 'Perfection' Jazz stars David Murray, Geri Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington first played together last year in New York. Now they come together with the new album, Perfection. Critic Kevin Whitehead has a review.
NPR logo

Power Trio Mixes Old And New, And The Result Is 'Perfection'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/477022216/477069744" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Power Trio Mixes Old And New, And The Result Is 'Perfection'

Review

Music Reviews

Power Trio Mixes Old And New, And The Result Is 'Perfection'

Power Trio Mixes Old And New, And The Result Is 'Perfection'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/477022216/477069744" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Jazz stars David Murray, Geri Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington first played together last year in New York. Now they come together with the new album, Perfection. Critic Kevin Whitehead has a review.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Last year in New York, jazz stars David Murray, Geri Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington played a trio gig together. They liked that first meeting so much they made a record. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says they've got very good chemistry.

(SOUNDBITE OF POWER TRIO SONG, "FOR FATHER PETER O'BRIEN")

KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: All-star lineups can be iffy. Sometimes they fizzle, sometimes the musicians get lucky and sometimes they make their own luck by choosing the right partners. Pianist Geri Allen and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington have been crossing paths since they were young guns on the New York scene 30 years ago. David Murray isn't much older but hit town earlier and traveled in different circles. So their new album "Perfection" mixes something old and something new. Murray usually plays tenor saxophone, but on Geri Allen's circular tune "For Father Peter O'Brien," Murray's on bass clarinet, an instrument he helped popularize.

(SOUNDBITE OF POWER TRIO SONG, "FOR FATHER PETER O'BRIEN")

WHITEHEAD: This instrumentation is a little odd but nothing new. Louis Armstrong had a horn-piano-drums trio when he was about 14. A band without a bass gives the pianist and drummer more room to maneuver and dip into the low frequencies, and it lets Geri Allen and Terri Carrington play more duets. Their interplay is crisp, and it's a joy just to hear the drummer play time. It's a great setting for both these jazz women.

(SOUNDBITE OF POWER TRIO SONG, "BARBARA ALLEN")

WHITEHEAD: David Murray as usual mixes modern cries and swing-era swagger. He grew up playing saxophone in a Pentecostal church and dips into that old sanctified feeling on secular material. Pianist Geri Allen brought in a traditional ballad she loved the first time she heard it, before she knew it was called "Barbara Allen." That's her mother's name.

(SOUNDBITE OF POWER TRIO SONG, "BARBARA ALLEN")

WHITEHEAD: Allen, Carrington and Murray call this group Power Trio, which may lead you to expect music less subtle than that. Tellingly, the weakest track is the one with guests, where they're submerged in a sextet. You lose the intimacy and clarity. One thing I like about a few bands without a bass - that absence can give the music a ramshackle roadhouse feel. Fewer players can make for looser music. Sometimes loose is more.

(SOUNDBITE OF POWER TRIO SONG, "BARBARA ALLEN")

BIANCULLI: Kevin Whitehead writes for Point of Departure and TONEAudio and is the author of "Why Jazz?" He reviewed "Perfection" by the Power Trio. Coming up, film critic David Edelstein reviews the newest entry in the Marvel superhero movie franchise "Captain America: Civil War." This is FRESH AIR.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.