A PAIR OF THREES AND AN ACE…Jakub Rojek Trio: Impish Brevity, Cudawianki; Mitchel Forman Trio: Puzzle

Here are a pair of impressive piano trios, displaying the art of small group joy.One trio pairs down to one as well.

Pianist Jakub Rojek teams up with Dominic Drwal/b and Nicholas Anderson for eight originals that deliver elastic and clever themes in concise form. A lot of Monkish influence is prevalent, as on the quirky tunes such as “Ode 2 cats” and the stalking “Shrinkt”  and “Monday Mourning” has bluish hints of the bebop pioneer. Mid tempo grooves on “The Real Thing” are highlighted by Anderson’s deft brush work, and classical sounds sound rich on “After It’s Gone.” Prismatic and lyrically off center.

Rojek goes solo on a second session. Three of the compositions come across as a three part “Fidgety” suite, with each piece being 13-15 minutes that vary between complex and rich romantic themes. A hint of Jarrett pops up on “I” with a hard working left hand, while “II” is more thoughtful and reflective whereas “III” has lots of playful scurrying fingers. A reconstruction of “Giant Steps” features a prismatic use of the famous chord structure before the album closes with a short vignette of synthesized sounds. Technical and intellectual.

Mitchel Forman plays piano, organ, melodica and synthesizer on this session with Kevin Axt/b and Steve Hass/dr on a mix of originals and covers. His reading of “What Is This Thing Called Love” has an assertively funky fel, while the team sounds gritty on Charles Mingus’ Nostalgia in Times Square. “ Forman displays reflective sounds on “Alfie” and a soft touch on “Ten Cent Wings,” and his own “Cartoons” is a lovely yet intricate piece of art. The team canters well on “Nimbus” and charges forward like Braveheart on “bounce.” Impressive team effort.




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