Brighton Year-Round 2019
Pianist John Lake, Matt Casterton bass and Simon Cambers on drums make up the eponymous John Lake Trio: they’re focused on one composer. Michel Camilo born in 1954.
Pianist John Lake, Matt Casterton bass and Simon Cambers on drums make up the eponymous John Lake Trio: they’re not only internationally known, they’re focused on one composer. Michel Camilo born in 1954. Camilo’s the most famous Dominican composer, both Julliard-trained from 1979 as well as steeped in jazz. The jazz-piano greats like Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea whose ‘Armanda’s Rumba’ rounds the concert.
The Trio’s sound is piano-led by Lake, with Cambers’ Drums from this writers perspective almost drowning out Casterton’s bass guitar. Which comes into its own in the ante-penultimate track the luminous ‘Remembrance’.
Starting with two short upbeat numbers ‘One More Once’ and ‘Piece of Cake’ we’re immersed in a piano-and-percussive richness that in one timbre recalls the big-band sound and some of the orchestrations of Ellington and that scaled revival of the 60s, and in another the lighter Corea sound, with elements of funk and strains of pop and other musics grounded here in a dense percussive haze with punch-throughs as with the Corea of a memorable melody.
It’s full-tilt and in one sense lacks a quieter reflective corner of Camilo’s music, since this is tailored for this kind of ensemble, and the effect is thrilling. For instance Nat Simon’s and Buddy Bernier’s ‘Poinciana’ with its different striations and eddies of melodies overlaid that followed the first two. ‘And Sammy Walked In’ is one of those winning personal tributes that’s shimmering on the edge of memory afterwards.
Kenny Dorham’s ‘Blue Bossa’ is another sparky perky and catchy way out of Camilo’s world for a brief moment, and welcome in its explorations of shadows and quieter melodic aptterns.
Then there’s the beautiful ‘Remembrance’ with its bas-led tunefulness, a gem leading onto the brief ‘Tropical Jam’ with tis topical heat references and another rapt number. ‘From Within’ packs a reference to tumultuous feelings: it’s not conventionally inward but essays a musical commentary on powerful expression, with the music backlit as it pulses out.
Finally Chick Corea’s ‘Armanda’s Rumba’ with its memorable melodic thrust and piano-punchy textures, rising to a numinous haze of affirmation. What a trio this is. Yes I’d have liked a respite in this acoustic, but for 45 minutes, pretty unbeatable for summer jazz.