Pablo Held Trio – Investigations
(Edition Records. EDN1109. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)
The Pablo Held Trio have been together for more than 12 years, and this is the band’s tenth CD together. On it they demonstrate the depth of understanding gained through recording and performing as a unit. Whilst pianist Pablo Held wrote all the tracks, it is as if they play as one.
On the liner notes Held explains how many of the pieces refer to specific people, particularly his family; April Sonne, dedicated to his wife, is a slow, contemplative tune, reminiscent of John Taylor’s trio work such as Rosslyn. I’ll Dream of Flowers is similarly gentle, Jonas Burgwinkel‘s sparse brush work on the drums quietly adding greatly to the piece. Robert Landferman work on bass is also integral to the feel off the record. Whilst he can play walking bass lines, as on Yearning, during which the trio get into almost straight-ahead swing, elsewhere it’s almost as if his bass hints at the piece; on Stubborn, he heads off on a tangent, almost daring Held and Burgwinkel to follow; Held’s phrasing of the tune has the angular, stabbing quality of Monk, although on his solo it’s as if he is squeezing notes in to see where they will take him.
Haiku Kit, dedicated to Held’s friend and fellow pianist Kit Downes, is another slow, open, reflective piece. As well as piano, bass and drums, there are organ chords provided by Hubert Nuss backing the trio which set the mood. Held’s solo increases the tension before he returns to the theme.
The CD opens with Investigations, the title track, which sums up the shared musical language between the trio. It is exploratory, loud in places and quiet in others; energetic and and emphatic.
Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. Twitter: @patrickhadfield.