Gary Peacock Trio ‘Now This’ (ECM) 4/5

gary-peacock-trioGary Peacock the bassist in Keith Jarrett’s long-standing trio is no new revelation to most jazz, or indeed piano fans. However, his own outings in the trio format are a little less well publicised and this is why this new release that showcases Peacock the composer and instrumentalist is such a welcome treat. Recorded in July 2014, and featuring Marc Copland on piano and Joey Barron on drums, it offers a different insight into the art of the piano trio and below the surface there is so much happening of interest with influences ranging from impressionistic classical to contemporary jazz piano. The all bar one original compositions are universally excellent and provide the pretext for some delightful excursions into how the trio can evolve and function organically and pose the vital question: why go from A to B when you can do a zig zag and enjoy the experience? Debussy-esque tones mark out ‘This’ which is a terrific piece with counterpoint between bass and piano and an album highlight. Copland on the delightful ‘Vignette’ succeeds in conjuring up Brad Mehldau while on the introspective ‘Gaia’ the pianist plays a more restrained role, restating the attractive melody and then engaging in fine interplay with Peacock. The latter comes to the fore on ‘Shadows’ where Copland performs Corea-like musings. As a composer Peacock has travelled widely and taken in many disparate cultures and this seems to be the inspiration for the meandering and exploratory number ‘Moor’. A cover of Scott La Faro’s ‘Gloria’s Step’ is a delicate piece with a haunting piano vamp over which Copland lays down Romantic classical notes and both bass and drums enter gently. The pianist comes into his own on ‘Esprit de Muse’ with extended soloing by Copland, further interplay between piano and bass, and some understated percussive work from Baron. This is a fine piano trio album that should not be overlooked and being such an integral part of the Jarrett trio has so obviously rubbed off.

Tim Stenhouse