Returning is the third CD for FMR Records from Bob Gluck. I fully enjoyed his previous effort Something Quiet which came out earlier this year. While the similarities are there, this latest effort in my mind, is a step farther for Gluck. The trio format features Gluck's virtuoso piano work, the tight supportive punctuation of Michael Bisio's bass work and the incredible dynamics of Dean Sharp on drums. This configuration drives the relationships of dynamics and rhythm and the interchange that must be ever-present in the trio format.
Gluck's compositions are expressed with an intensity and sensitivity that is spellbinding. I cannot fully convey the attraction deeply seeded in these pieces that becomes stronger as the composition progresses. Edgy taunts of tone and tension, dynamic and melodic subtleties that weave a fabric of strong colors and deep textures. One thing you hear is the interrelationships between the players. The give and take is palpable and constant. They execute the trio format impeccably. "Returning", the title track is the longest time-wise at 11:25, but the piece moves so smoothly and constantly forward that it seems to be over too soon for the listener. It has such unique components inside each section of the composition. Changes in tempo, rhythm form, percussion and percussive accents are throughout the piece. I find it fascinating to go back and listen again to this track and see the detail to which the trio emphasizes these subtleties.
Other notable tracks are the shorter, but equally epic, "Time" in which Bisio delivers a blistering intro on the base, setting the scene for the remaining two minutes. Sharp is a driving force in the trio, with a notable solo in the later minutes of "That's All You Got". "By A Field" has a compositional simplicity that belies the emotional intensity that is conveyed by it's execution. Even deep within the base solo, you can feel the essence of an underlying tension accented by both accompanist, Gluck and Sharp. "There's No There There" is almost counterpoint to the tension of the previous track and lets the listener take a deep breath and feel some playfulness. That being said, it is a further example of how tight this trio is and how they can convey moods as one voice. "Vertigal" was both different and familiar to me at the same time. Gluck is surprising in the use of melody and rhythm to convey mood. This track is a great example of what Returning is all about, returning to some familiar territory. For me, that is what the Bob Gluck Trio has done with this latest effort, brought me back to some familiar territory of Gluck's composition, but took me there with some new experiences. While the CD ends with a track of a similar name to the last effort "Something Quiet" is again new ground over familiar country. I enjoyed returning to Gluck's music on this latest release.