Peter Edwards Trio – Safe and Sound
(EMP, EMP0001. CD Review by Mike Collins)
Tomorrow’s Warriors alumnus pianist Peter Edwards has been steadily building an impressive portfolio in recent years. In addition to growing the reputation of his trio he’s established himself as writer, arranger and sideman for amongst others, The Nu Civilisation Orchestra and rising star Zara Mcfarlane. Safe and Sound is the trio’s first full release. A set of varied Edwards originals and one standard, Monk’s I Mean You, it gives us a taste of where the leader’s imagination takes him when he’s in the driving seat.
With Partikel’s Max Luthert on bass and Moses Boyd on drums who has been working with Jay Phelps, Denis Baptiste and Gary Crosby, this acoustic piano trio has plenty of fire power. Triple Threat opens with a swinging driving vamp and a bold statement of descending chords with little bursts of swing before an atmospheric sizzle of cymbals and sustained bass notes clear space for Edwards to steadily build a solo from small motifs and percussive, two handed playing that reaches an intense climax. Title track Safe and Sound strikes a different but no less bold tone with big, less dissonant chords over a rocky beat, skittering sixteenth notes from the drums hinting at a clubby rhythms. The solo this time developing more from patterns and scampering runs before reaching another exultant crescendo of ringing chords. El Malecon switches to a flowing latin groove after a spikey opening passage. Desdemona’s Tears, an atmospheric ballad with an insistent groove on the toms giving it a foreboding air, evokes a singing resonant solo from Luthert on bass.
There’s a range of moods and feels in the writing and playing blending sounds and rocky rhythms from a personal journey with the starting point of high octane swinging jazz. There’s a great group feel with Boyd’s drumming a delight, injecting movement and energy throughout without overwhelming. Edward’s is a thoughtful player, building solos patiently, relying as much on patterns, fragments and rhythm as melodic lines for the connecting logic.
This is an appealing album of contemporary piano jazz with a fine writer and pianist setting out his stall.