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David Gordon Trio Undiminished


Undiminished Album Cover

Release Date: 02.26.02
Record label: zah zah
Genre(s): Classical, Jazz


Nice. Safe. Repeat.
by: matt cibula

This record is one of those really good things that I wouldn't recommend to anyone who's not already a fan of jazz piano trios. David Gordon knows his music theory, and his band is tight, and they show some real ambition-but this record could have come out in 1960 and no one would know the difference, if it weren't for the fact that they cover a Prince song. But if you're a jazz fan, you'll probably like the crystalline perfection of Gordon's band, and you'll think my reservations completely pants.

So let's start with the good stuff. They cook, as a band; Gordon's nimble touch goes well with bassist Ole Rasmussen's bop-styled work and the crucial work of drummer Paul Cavaciuti. The latter contributes a pretty song, "Waltz for J," on which he doesn't even take a drum solo, and Rasmussen is responsible for placing Prince's "Sometimes It Snows in April" into atmospheric jazz context. It's clear that these guys like playing together, and that's great…if you like that sort of thing.

If you don't, though, don't bother. Me, I like the piano jazz, but I'm not sure that this record stays away from Boringville on every track. Gordon's original songs, like the title tune and "Dozen a Day," are nice and cute and technically challenging, but there are no WOW moments here at all. This is a good background music album, but it never really rises to the foreground. This is the sound of a trio that kind of wants to stay in the jazz ghetto.

There's nothing wrong with that, of course-hey, most "crossover" jazz artists just suck anyway. But Gordon takes the easy noodling route to a solo, and his choices of covers are nice and safe ("Caravan," "Just One of Those Things," "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing") and his band plays it nice and safe and it's all just so nice and safe that it makes you kind of sick. In a nice safe way of course.

I don't know if it's necessary for jazz music to push the envelope, really. All I know is that this record won't ever really cause anyone to look up and say "Damn! That was cool!" It's just, ultimately, too nice and safe. Which is okay if you like that. 30-Jan-2003 3:30 PM