Jason Smith — Tipping Point
(Moonjune MJR011, 2007, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-10-01A tipping point is sometimes defined as the borderline where you’re just under the influence of alcohol or some other (usually illegal) substance. For drummer Jason Smith it serves as a dividing marker between song and improvisation. Having seasoned pros like drummer Gary Husband (here on keys) and bassist Dave Carpenter (who have both supported Jack Bruce, Allan Holdsworth, and John McLaughlin) shows the high caliber of interplay on the seven cuts. Husband’s phrasing infers elements of McCoy Tyner and the more recent melodic style of Keith Jarrett with blinding speed and intricacy. The opening cut, “Carole’s Garden,” displays little reserve and lots of balls out energy; even Carpenter himself gets upright elbow room mid-way which suits him just fine. Smith is a chameleon of a musician for drummers. His instinctive rhythmic vocabulary translates to fit this piano trio to a tee as heard primarily on “Heyoke” and “Three Lies.” The former piece pulls an intuitive page from the recent Jarrett trio standards with Peacock and DeJohnette, while the latter tour de force track shows a wider range of melodic development: funky and purposeful. The band excels on the romantic platform as well with “The Way You Look Tonight,” an emotional late-night ballad with sentimental voicing and poignant mood massaging that works. In summary, this is a hot little trio that knows the nuances of the trio format and how to exploit them appropriately.
Related artist(s): Jason Smith
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