Trio Red – Lucid Dreamers
(Interrupto Music. IM005. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)
This is the second album by Trio Red, a collaboration between drummer Tom Bancroft, pianist Tom Cawley and bassist Per Zanussi. Their first, First Hello to Last Goodbye, felt much as its name suggested: a document of a meeting. Lucid Dreamers is more, a record of a band, developing and growing together.
Several of the tracks sound as if they are wholly improvised, a musical conversation which continues through the album. Others are written by Bancroft, and there are three covers. The first, Lift Off, by Thomas Chapin, is reminiscent of 1960s post bop by Ornette Coleman or Jackie McLean: fast and slightly of kilter, Cawley takes the lead as if we’re speeding down a hill. Charles Mingus’ Jump Monk is more familiar bop. Bancroft proves he is as at home driving a swinging beat as he is at providing impressionistic percussion for the improvised pieces. The most intriguing cover, though, is a short mash up of (I think) 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover and Love Is Here To Stay, which Trio Red have called 50 Ways Our Love Is Here To Stay Porgy. The result is a lovely ballad which I wish lasted longer than its two minutes.
The five improvised pieces similarly leave one wanting more. The first two, Hint of Wood and Howdy Doody, follow each other closely. The first has an insistent beat over which Zanussi and Cawley solo whilst Bancroft inserts rhythmic patterns. Cawley adds to the rhythm by plucking his piano’s strings in between the chords behind Zanussi’s bass. Howdy Doody is more open and reflective, as if the band are finding their way through the notes. Mr McFats Puts On His Socks is another number which feels like the band are exploring their ideas. The two Bancroft compositions bookend the album. The opener, Saturday Afternoon (With Sophie), is a lively, naive-sounding tune with a slight reggae-inflection. It has the innocence of a nursery rhyme or playground chant, full of humour with a touch of naughtiness. It has the potential to be irritatingly catchy!
Lucid Dreamers closes the CD. Originally written for a larger ensemble, it is all together more serious in nature. In three sections, it has a quiet intensity that leads to a chaotic crescendo in the middle, resolving into an optimistic, emotional climax in the final part. Cawley takes a powerful solo over Zanussi’s Bach-like bass line leading to the end of this varied CD.