Nicolas Meier Trio ‘Kismet’ (MGP) 4/5

Nicolas Meier TrioLondon-based Swiss guitarist Nicolas Meier returns with an intimate sounding recording of pan-Mediterranean grooves, inspired in part by his travels in Turkey and other parts of southern Europe. He is assisted by bassist Kevin Glasgow and drummer Laurence Lowe with the occasional use of Spanish percussionist making up a quartet on occasion. The opener, a no holds barred cover of Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’ is given a flamenco make over with percussive claps and an acoustic guitar solo and it is unusual to hear this standard minus any brass, but the experiment certainly works. One of the strongest originals (all but three of the nine pieces are in-house compositions) is ‘Reflections’, co-written with Meier’s wife Songal and possessing something of classical feel to it including the use of violin. Virtuosic musicianship is the order of the day on the fast-paced ‘Aidguzel’ with bass solo being inspired by a knowledge of Jaco Pastorius’ innovative work. For melodicism, the mid-tempo rendition of a Latin American standard ‘Besame mucho’ is re-envisioned with an inventive Americana guitar landscape and this works especially well at the quicker tempo than per usual. Nicolas Meier and band performed as part of this year’s London Jazz Festival in November. Tim Stenhouse