Someone once declared that attitude is everything. That aphorism applies to this recording.
Every track starts with an honest approach. What each brings to mind is different but this is nothing to complain about. In fact, this recording is all about applause.
Here are musical metaphors suggesting upbeat excitement, the blues, disorientation and its realignment, thoughtful melancholy, and downright happiness, sparkling, even. How one instrument hands its main role to another is clear and sensible. The combination of instruments and players in the trio is clear and sensible.
Cooper-Moore’s piano playing is absorbing, reflective of varying modes of technical intervention, but nonetheless, flowing and demonstrative of his love of the instrument. He changes fingering attacks from soft to softly hard through chords, scattered phrasing, simply laid out tunes, trills and back-handed runs. His timing in choices of how to move his hands is impeccable, either when he is fronting the band or standing behind it. His rhythmic acuity plays off the bass and the drums, but also, is one in itself. Cooper-Moore develops a quiet depth that characterizes a gentleness in his playing that is extremely comforting.
I think sometimes that the key to bass playing is the way it supports the main instrument, in this case, the piano, by means of a nearly synchronized pizzicato...Nearly, because if you listen carefully, the plucked strings can be heard separately from the rest of the band sound. That the bass can also branch out on its own, with pizzing and with close to the chest bowing, to structure its sole space, both to solo and interweave with the piano and drums, measures for me also the character of the player. The bass equally assumes the responsibility to reunite the band when a hiatus is reached. Tom Abbs performs in this way really well. His touch aligns with the touch of Cooper-Moore. This indicates such dedication to the appropriate temperament of the sound produced and also an aptitude for knowing how far abstract tensions can be stretched within taut sonic limits.
Drummer Chad Taylor echoes intentions similar to those of bassist Abbs. The tight snare drum beats alternating succinctly with the bass allows space for the piano to roll out. Taylor favors an accentual plane with his drumming, varying his almost completely laid back and carefully laid out dry strokes of the snare and sibilant to damped cymbal brushing. Taylor has command over his drumset. He uses it masterfully to extend the piano notes, imitate their texture as well as ground them.
This trio, Triptych Myth, unravels Cooper-Moore's musical tales with great aplomb. The Beautiful is worth all the listening time that one can spare.