CD REVIEW: Casey Golden – Miniature

Casey Golden – Miniature
(Scrampion Records. SCRAMP004. CD Review by Mary James)

Well-known in his native Australia, Casey Golden studied classical piano from the age of 5. At 17 he won an award to play in London, gained undergraduate degrees with distinctions in Sydney, and created his current trio of Bill Williams on double bass and Ed Rodrigues on drums/percussion in 2010. Golden was a finalist in the Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year in 2011. The band played together for five years before their studio album Outliers, which was then followed by a live album.

Miniature, an EP, is Golden’s third album in just two years with this line-up and has Daniel Walsh guesting on guitar. Four own-compositions named I, II, Interlude and III. A single piece in four parts, this is the trio’s first foray into extended composition, exploring a wider range of influences and augmenting the band with additional instruments including synth used with great subtlety and guitar. And it demonstrates how far they have come as a band.

Think Dawn of Midi meets Bach. Was the album cover of Golden’s Miniature unconsciously recalling the cover of Dawn of Midi’s Dysnomia? Both are classic jazz piano trio line-ups, both do not sound like classic piano trios. But unlike Dawn of Midi, whose fractal rhythms are its substance, in Miniature repetitive hooks blossom into billowing baroque melodies of great elegance and loveliness.

The “miniature” of the album title is a good description of its concentrated and complete vision, just 24 minutes of tiny satisfying details based around two central themes, much is through-composed, there is plenty of freedom evident but the line between the two is blurry as you’d expect from a trio with such empathy. Like a miniature painting, precision is the hallmark, sparce lines and tension are suddenly exploded into brief dazzling dances, then back to propulsion with electronics adding a touch of delicate, sometimes watery, colour. The album ends with a few magical notes like a musical box closing. You will want to open it again and again to experience the class and exuberance of this very talented and mature trio.

Mary James, who lives in Gloucestershire, is a jazz promoter and manager. Manages Maciek Pysz. Agency to Ivo Neame & Maciek Pysz duo, Julian Costello, Andrew McCormack. Twitter @maryleamington

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