The music here works on several levels. First, it's simply beautiful, the kind of music that can work as the perfect companion for a late night or a spring day, music that evokes appreciative nods and quiet smiles as the tale unfolds almost subconsciously. On another level, though, its structural complexity can absorb your full attention, as you examine each passage for the hidden trick or unexpected turn that makes the investment of your full interest profitable. Trainor is a devotee of Thelonious Monk, and that interest is tangible, but he has developed an original approach that really transcends any influence.
Beyond the music itself, there's the work of the trio. Trainor and his companions have a partnership that has lasted over a decade, and the time has been well spent. They've developed the kind of musical sympatico that allows each member the opportunity for full personal expression without ever losing touch with one another.
It's hard to single out tracks here, because they weave such a complete and satisfying whole, but the album closes with a reprise of one song, "The Dance Commences," in an unedited nine and a half minute version that's as good a nine and a half minutes of piano trio as I've heard this year, unless it's some other nine and a half minutes of this beautiful and brilliant album.
Tangled Roots is the Brian Trainor Trio's second Summit Records release, and it leaves me anxious to hear the third.