Dave Storey Trio – Circeo
(Clonmell Jazz Social CJS002CD. Album review by Bruce Lindsay.)
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The London-based Dave Storey Trio — Storey on drums, James Allsopp on tenor sax and Conor Chaplin on double bass — has been a presence on the jazz scene for a few years now. Circeo, recorded on 14 December 2021 by Alex Bonney and produced by Storey, is the trio’s third album, following 2019’s Bosco and 2020’s Jouska, and the second release on the Clonmell Jazz Social label.
Although it’s the drummer who gives his name to the band, it’s the saxophonist who gets the composer credit: Allsopp wrote five of the six tracks here, the exception being a cover of ‘Body and Soul’. Album opener ‘Gemelli’ – Italian for ‘twins’ – is a medium tempo tune, punchy bass and drums underpinning Allsopp’s often-intense and dynamic tenor sax. Most of the remainder of the album is characterised less by intensity, more by restrained lyricism. The slow-tempo and romantic ‘Rain Song’ features Chaplin’s double bass solo at its centre and hints at Bossa Nova in its rhythm. ‘Joe’ is a tribute to saxophonist Joe Henderson. It’s a fast-paced, swinging, tune but there’s always a sense that each player is keeping something in reserve, Storey and Chaplin driving the tempo forward strongly but always keeping control.
‘Circeo’ is named after a coastal park in Italy, although such an inspiration isn’t immediately obvious from the tune’s slinky rhythm or the saxophone’s fluid melody line. In the closing minute or so drums, bass and sax come together in unison, shifting the feel of the tune to something a little more urgent and adding a touch of mystery. The following track, ‘Magnum,’ is another of the album’s faster tunes. It’s unclear whether it’s named for the Private Investigator, the handgun or the ice-cream on a stick, but it’s a positive, upbeat and immediately engaging number.
‘Body and Soul’ continues the album’s prevailing mood of calm restraint, Allsopp playing the familiar melody gracefully as bass and drums weave their own individual but complimentary paths beneath the tune. There’s no attempt to ‘re-envisage’ or ‘rework’ the classic song: even when Allsopp’s tenor solo takes the spotlight he never strays far from the melody, and the performance is all the better for it. In the realm of ‘Body and Soul’ recordings, the Dave Storey Trio has some stiff competition, but they prove that they’re up there with the best of them.
Release date is 5 May 2023. Launch is at the Vortex on Wednesday 3 May
LINKS: Circeo on Bandcamp