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Danny Fox Trio — The Great Nostalgist
(Hot Cup Records , 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-04-07

The Great Nostalgist Cover art

In listening to pianist Danny Fox’s album, it occurs to me that while “nostalgia” indicates a fondness or longing for the past, built within the concept is the realization that the past is, well, past. It’s no longer here, else why long for it? So music made with a sense of nostalgia doesn’t necessarily have to actually sound like music from some past time, but can be filtered through knowledge of the present. The Great Nostalgist certainly contains music full of references to jazz of past decades, but to my ears doesn’t seem to be slavishly copying the sound of past piano trios. Mixed in with lushly chorded lines that call to mind Oscar Peterson or Art Tatum will be rhythmic ostinatos more akin to Hiromi (or even Keith Emerson, if you want to go there). In the arrangements, there are also similarities to other modern practitioners like The Bad Plus. While classic piano trios will sometimes have the piano left hand double the bass line, the way it’s done here is more like 70s and beyond rock-influenced riffs than old-school latin tunes. Bassist Chris van Voorst van Beest effortlessly straddles the decades involved, with walking lines, outlining of chord progressions, energetic ostinatos, and nimble solos. Max Goldman’s drumming also steps out of traditional tropes — there’s something different about the way he places his accents to emphasize aspects of the piano’s melody rather than simply swinging the groove with the bass. Fox’s playing is imaginative and lyrical if not overly flashy, and incorporates touches of the blues and gospel with more angular modern lines. In short, while The Great Nostalgist has an eye looking back at the history of jazz, it should appeal to fans of more modern sounds as well.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Danny Fox

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