The 34th of Jon Turney’s weekly selections features a powerful trio who breathe as one.
Yes, it’s Tommy Flanagan, so you get impeccable, beautifully articulated piano playing. But this is also about the trio. Elvin Jones is a challenge for any piano player, but he and Flanagan go way back. And George Mraz has a perfect hook up with the drummer.
It’s a routine date in some ways – a single day in the studio in New York in the mid-1970s. But the results are sparkling, and none more so than here.
Jones is full on in the intro – no brushes on this track – with Mraz pacing him. Flanagan stabs in a few chords, using more left hand than usual and some uncharacteristic loud pedal to meet Elvin’s power. Then they’re off for another ten minutes plus, bassist and drummer falling back into more supportive work in Flanagan’s solo, though never letting the urgency drop, then reasserting themselves in turn for their own choruses.
Don’t know if it was planned, but they all sound so at home with Flanagan’s lopsided tune, and have such fun with it, that it becomes the longest cut, by some margin, and a memorable title track for the session.