Don’t believe the opening notes of Lama‘s Oneiros… they’re a lie and they’ll steer you the wrong way. The pronounced bounce and charge of trumpet and bass is like a doorway into a confused Ringling Bros. tent. It’s the opening statement to both song and album. It says, hey, this is what it’s all about. But it’s a lie. Because after the first 30 seconds, the carnival packs up and leaves town, and all that remains are long beautiful trumpet calls, low and serene, over a sea of electronics and gentle rhythms. It’s a dramatic moment on a dramatic album.
In which we learn about Storms/Nocturnes, Toadswart d’Amplestone, and Bea.
STORMS / NOCTURNES – VIA
Names have power. It gets to where it’s difficult to distinguish whether the name is derived from identity or if identity is formed from the name. Storms/Nocturnes, the ensemble name taken by the trio of Geoffrey Keezer (piano), Tim Garland (reeds), and Joe Locke (vibes) illustrates that fuzziness of origin. They have created an album awash in dreamy melodies and rhythms like the fall of rain.
Places have power, too. They have their own identity, which can alter our perceptions just as we affect them by our presence. The album VIA is a recognition of that geographical interaction. Within the liner notes of the album are photos and reminiscences by the artists of places that each tune drew inspiration from. It is a guided tour of the album’s music, just as the music colors the perception of each location’s photo. It creates an odd circle of interpretation, but it’s a logical approach to such an unconventional album.
A trio of piano, vibes, and reeds isn’t the typical jazz line-up and the compositions themselves don’t evoke daydreams of 1940s Minton’s Playhouse, and yet the end result is an album of sublime jazz music. Seven years since their last album, the trio’s ears show no rust to the receptiveness of one another’s sound. Locke’s vibes light the path with bright runs, while Garland’s sax soars overhead and bass clarinet burrows beneath Garland’s fluttering piano. A beautiful album by jazz vets at the top of their game. Released in 2011 on the Origin/OA2 label.