Casey Golden Trio ‘Live at Bennetts Lane’ (Scrampion) 3/5

casey-golden-trio“Live at Bennetts Lane” is the companion release to the trio’s studio album “Outliers”. Recorded during their 2014 winter tour, this Australian trio of Casey Golden, piano, Bill Williams, bass and Ed Rodrigues, drums, shows a slightly freer, more expansive side to that of the studio recording. Sporting similar intergalactic sleeve art by Marvel Comics’ Ron Frenz, all compositions are by Casey Golden. Yet unlike some “trios” where the music is just a vessel for the lead performer, this threesome are most definitely a “trio” in the truest sense. The instruments are interconnected and entwined at all times, the music benefitting from an odd symmetry where the musicians can be heard in unison or all playing as if reading exactly the same script at exactly the same time. The album is made up of three pieces, each with an intro by a member of the band, plus a fourth stand-alone piece. The music here has an other-worldly edge to it, fragmented, intriguing and collectively colourful. The level of interaction and cohesion from this three-piece outshines many in this field, making for a rewarding listen.

The opening intro features Rodrigues on drums. The sound is bright and crisp, as is the inventive playing. The three main tracks are all conversational pieces and as the intro leads us into the main opener, “The 16th Floor”, it doesn’t take long to get a feel for what this band are all about. There is a bottom line that runs through this tune and the trio bounce around the line taking it up and down in twists and turns, playing, enquiring, like a child discovering a new toy for the first time. The next intro features Golden at the piano. Perhaps reminiscent of a Bill Evans tune that got lost somewhere in time, we are led into the second full piece “Paralysed”. Intricate riffs, motifs and ideas are used as building blocks for the trio to construct and assimilate their resonating discourse, huffing and puffing, stopping and starting, breathing deep and flying free. “When The Talking Stops” is a gem of a piece. It successfully mixes the band’s conversational style with a rich lyricism making for a free-flowing richness that delivers on many levels. The bass of Williams takes care of the next intro, leading us into the final track, “Clouded”. Time and space is shared between piano, bass and drums. The depth of playing is rich and fulfilling, each band member contributing a musical equation to the overall sum. Casey Golden Trio have a distinctive sound, enabling them to stand out in the crowded piano trio field. Alongside “Outliers”, their studio album, “Live at Bennetts Lane” is a strong companion, offering a clear insight into the music of the trio.

Mike Gates