Kenny Barron/ Dave Holland Trio ft. Johnathan Blake- Without Deception
(Dare2 Records DR2-011. CD review by Mike Collins)
Kenny Barron and Dave Holland go back a long way. There’s a trio set, Scratch, recorded in the mid 80’s that fizzes with energy and is well worth re-visiting, and in 2014 the duo recording The Art of Conversation was summarised perfectly by the title. Now they’re back, adding Barron’s regular collaborator, the peer-less Johnathan Blake, on drums for their new release Without Deception.
With a clutch of Barron and Holland originals, and compositions by Mulgrew Miller, Ellington, Monk and Sumi Tonooka, this is a bustling, straight ahead set. Barron started out in the early 60’s with a stint with Dizzy Gillespie, later recorded with Stan Getz and co-founded Sphere, a Monk inspired band. It’s not hard to hear all that history, soaked into his compositions and playing. Porto Alegre struts in, to launch the set with a pulsating latin groove, Blake’s percussion seeming to ululate for an entrance, and it’s a Holland bass solo which gets things cooking nicely.
Second Thoughts starts with a rhythmic figure and a couple of quintessentially Kenny Barron chords, before dropping into a viscerally swinging groove. His piano sound seems to define a certain mature, modern boppish sound. There are even ways of playing some piano chords that are referred to as the ‘Kenny Barron voicing’, and the sound is rich display here. Without Deception is another swinger andSpeed Trapraces away, a blistering post-bop workout.
Pass It On, a Holland tribute to Ed Blackwell, has a shuffling, New Orleans vibe to it as Blake sets them up for the fiery, funky exchanges. There are lyrical passages; Tonooka’s Secret Places is an attractive waltz, and the ballad Warm Valley provides a standout moment. They close with a bristling take on Monk’s Worry Later.
Barron and Holland are both NEA Jazz Masters and their long careers are rightly garlanded with awards. This is not a random hook-up however. The pleasure in this recording is their ease in each other’s company and deeply felt sense of momentum, no matter what the material. It makes the prospect of catching them live genuinely thrilling.
Kenny Barron & Dave Holland Trio featuring Johnathan Blake are at Ronnie Scott’s Club, Monday 9 to Wednesday 11 March
Categories: CD review