David Murray, Geri Allen & Terri Lyne Carrington ‘Perfection’ CD/DIG (Motéma) 5/5

murray-allen-carringtonThis is something of a super trio and they more than live up to billing on a superlative release that ably demonstrates why the musicians individually and collectively remain at the top of their form. Motéma rightly has a reputation for unearthing new and re-energizing established musicians, and here the crème de la crème of the post-1980s generation (slightly before in the case of Murray) step up to the mark.
In actual fact the trio was initially supposed to have been an all-women affair, but bassist Esperanza Spalding could not make the date and thus David Murray very ably filled her shoes, thereby adding an entirely new dynamic to proceedings. Sometimes, haphazard changes are simply meant to be and this is undoubtedly the case here. A major feature of the album is the extent to which the trio members engage in high level interplay and enter into a deeply musical dialogue. Clearly, there are no major egos here and it is the music that is very much the winner as a consequence.
All but two compositions are originals by the trio and they are universally outstanding pieces that might be expected from individuals who are used to top billing in their own right. However, a reworking of Allen’s ‘The Nurturer’, that was originally inspired by trumpeter Marcus Belgrave who served as one of the pianist’s educator’s, is particularly impressive and a stand out track. The title track is an Ornette Coleman original that features guest appearances from musicians, all of whom have a direct or indirect professional relationships to either trio members or Coleman himself and these include bassist Charnett Moffett, trumpeter Wallace Roney and trombonist Craig Harris. A second standard, the traditional, ‘Barbara Allen’, is performed as a tribute to the recent passing of bassist Charlie Haden who, of course, first made his name as part of the famous Ornette Coleman formation so a looping of the loop of sorts.

Tim Stenhouse