eyeshutight - Resonance
(Hungry Bear Records HBR001. Review by Patrick Hadfield)
The piano trio is a resilient form - a genre all of its own. When a new trio comes along - new to me, at least - it is hard not to make comparisons. Keith Jarrett and Esbjorn Svensson are the first that come to mind - and I can't help noticing at the same time that an un-concatenated "eyes shut tight" would also be "est". I wouldn't normally burden an artist with such prestigious reference points, but since they're the markers which eyeshutight (sic) lay down on their website, it seems apposite.
Such comparisons are unfair, though: we have a lifetime of much-loved recordings of our favourites to fall back on, and this is just the third CD by eyeshutight, and the first I've heard. Still, many of the tracks do have the same slow, contemplative vibe to early est; others have a similar feel - even a resonance - to the Neil Cowley Trio in the way they couple rock drum rhythms with distinctly insistent, riffing jazz bass.
There are nine tracks, though the CD names only eight - the final, unidentified track being apparently a reprise and re-imagining of the first, the title track Resonance. With several shifts in rhythm and unison playing by the bass and piano, the first version sets the tone for the whole record.
On several slower tracks Kristoffer Wright produces a subtler, somewhat dreamy atmosphere with mallets on his drums. The change of pace brings out the quiet lyricism of Johnny Tomlinson's piano and allows Paul Baxter's fluent bass solos to fill some of the space.
Consistent but varied, this CD is never boring, rewarding repeated plays through the trio's imagination and verve.
Paul Baxter: Double Bass
Johnny Tomlinson: Piano
Kristoffer Wright: Drums
eyeshutight are touring: DATES