Yaniv Taubenhouse ‘Moments In Trio Vol.3: Roads’ CD (Fresh Sound New Talent) 4/5

“Moments in Trio” is a series of recordings of the Yaniv Taubenhouse Trio released on Fresh Sound Records. “Roads” is the third release, naturally following on from “Moments Vol 1” and “Perpetuation – Vol 2”. Currently residing in New York City, the pianist is joined by bassist Rick Rosato and drummer Jerad Lippi, and the group’s repertoire features original compositions by Taubenhouse, Rosato and Lippi, as well as standards by Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk and Gene De Paul / Don Raye.

In music, as in life in general, it is often the little things that make the difference. I think this is particularly true when it comes to piano trios. There needs to be an intuitive togetherness, one which conveys a creative path of interest. This trio has this in abundance. It’s not just that though. For a piano-led trio, regardless of style or jazz sub-genre, for things to stand out above the crowd, there needs to be something almost indefinable about the music being performed. It’s about those little touches of decadence, those subtle nuances, those articulate, surprising moments when the pianist does something in a split second that you didn’t realise you’ve been waiting a lifetime to hear.

As the album opens, with the wonderfully enigmatic “Blue Forest”, I am reminded, in more ways than one, of the Brad Mehldau Trio. Particularly his “Art of the Trio” series that went a long way to launching his illustrious career. “Roads” has that same feel, that same essence running through it. Taubenhouse plays his instrument with a similar drifting ease, a similar beautiful lilt of a single note, a similar deft touch that sparks illumination. He even shares Mehldau’s penchant for lengthy liner notes… and yet he obviously has his own style. The mix of original compositions from the trio is great to hear, with each tune fitting effortlessly together to create an overall atmosphere of fresh originality.

Whilst “Rush Hour Traffic” and “Sailing Over The Horizon” are good solid tunes, it’s on tracks like “Prayer”, “Flow” and “Roads”, the title track, where the trio really comes into its own. There’s a graceful nature to the elegiac “Prayer”. It’s one of those tunes that sinks into your subconscious without you realising it. “Flow” teases with its syncopated rhythm as the trio gradually wind-up with some ear-catchingly compelling interaction. The beauty of the title track is its muse. It’s like the trio are looking around at the world, contemplating which road to take next… As Taubenhouse says in his liner notes: “Creativity has a road of its own where the destination isn’t clear nor is the direction. The analogy might be someone walking in an open field, searching for a particular flower, though not a specific kind, and only upon finding it, does it become clear that that’s the exact flower he/she has been looking for. Every journey has a path of its own as does the creative process, and at the end of the day, every composition rides its own journey.”

There are some touches of brilliance from the trio here, with a path of purpose that promises much. It will indeed be very interesting to see how their journey unfolds in the years ahead.

Mike Gates