Pianist and composer Adam Bodine, who originally hails from the Chicagoland area, now lives in Colorado. Classically trained, Bodine formed his current trio in 2008 to showcase his developing book of original compositions. Blue Mud is Bodine’s second self-released recording. Here Bodine is joined by Kalin Capra on bass, and Roswell, Georgia native and Berklee College of Music graduate Luke Emig on drums. Eleven original Bodine compositions are featured on this album.
If there is one thing undeniable about this recording it’s that Bodine has a truly original and highly humorous compositional style. It’s really hard to describe it, other than to say he likes to constantly keep things off kilter. By inserting cliché licks, such as those by Duke Ellington and cartoon children’s material, into the middle of compositions and frequently altering rhythms and time feels within pieces, such as on “Ricochet Rations” with the use of a light New Orleans inspired drum break in the middle of a stride piano oriented composition that none-the-less also includes passages of double time swing, Bodine truly has a singular mind.
As a pianist Bodine gets his thoughts out in a fresh and light manner. He is fleet of finger when needed and obviously has command of many different jazz performance styles. Capra and Emig are, in many ways, along for the ride as they follow Bodine’s charts around all of the hairpin turns. On the other hand, being able to handle all of the different areas into which Bodine migrates his music is not easy. Finding a way to be supportive, locked into each composition and totally in the moment, especially in these compositions has to be, at times, maddingly frustrating. Yet, both of these musicians handle their duties with aplomb and an ease of phrase accentuation that belies how hard they’re working to make it sound easy.
There is one strong negative to this recording, and that it is the sound quality. The drums are buried deep in the back of the mix and the piano doesn’t have a very full sound – think the sound of the piano on Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack. This music is not for everyone, but for those who really want to hear something different from a jazz trio, that being material outside of the traditional swing or Bad Plus/EST repertoire, Bodine’s group might be a good place to start.