The definition of ‘trio’ spans such distant extremes, from nuanced, chamber derived line-ups to rave, aggressive, even electronic outbursts, to have become such a mysterious formula for success in jazz music. Giving the most iconic trio line-up is the piano trio, electric trios in jazz and fusion have been often labeled as ‘power trio’ thus indicating a different league of their own and placing them on the other end of the spectrum: thunderous, driving, rock-oriented grooves and the prejudicial belief electricity brings less attention to detail. Preston Glasgow Lowe trio is exactly undermining this opposition between the two ends of the definition, working the power electrified trio as if they were a piano trio, with subtle attention to smallest details, shining the surface of their hard-edged and rumbling music. There’s an inner sense of intimacy, even when their music becomes frenzy, sharper and virtuoso oriented, that pervades the second recording of this trio.
As the dim lights shed, the musicians on the stage start a boasting yet gentle drive. The music navigates through thematic sections and melodies like the intro roll for a movie. Singing, yet pumping, the mood is something in between relaxation and thrill, feeling like moving through the cliff where writing ends and improvisation starts. Even if the rhythm underlying below is a four against four and the chords maintain a strong tonal vibe, yet the band is putting at show an high degree of virtuoso technique, manipulating a multiple accent palette with wittiness and playfulness. Piano is driving the game with mastery, while electric bass is spanning with unusual easyness all the registers of the instrument, restraining guitar’s eagerness to a disciplined sustainment. The drumming is precisely counterpointing, never too sharp, always compelling. After four minutes piano breaks into the transition that welcomes the initial track theme. A looped two-chords ostinato overarches multiple rhythmic patterns. The band seems to stop for a few seconds, to take a deep breath like someone who is preparing to dive. Entering the zone, concentrating on the beat, focusing on the starting gun. They are pondering on time itself. Once the stage is set, multiple rhythms start pouring above the surface, like shimmering trickles becoming a stream.