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Blue Sand by Achille Gajo Trio

There are rare too few piano trios where the musicians play with the unbridled joy and happiness in the simple fact they make their music together. A situation where you can aurally tell the musicians are having the absolute best of times because of the ease with which they transmit their love of playing in each other's company. And then to all of this they play at the highest of musical levels. The Bill Evans-Scott LaFaro trio had it, and it's abundantly clear the Achille Gajo Trio has it as well. From the first note of The Window to the splash at the end of the last track, this group settles in to a feeling sorely lacking in most jazz recordings today: total sympathy, respect and love with musical nuance and élan.

Bassist and kora (a stringed African instrument) player Jean-Jacques Avenel and drummer John Betsch, former members of the Steve Lacy trio, are joined by Italian pianist Achille Gajo for a disc of music that moves you delicately from within. The melodies are delightful in the manner similar to Vince Guaraldi's music: light and sweet with an undercurrent of harmonic uniqueness. There's no head-banging or thrashing of instruments here, just musicians mature and comfortable enough to know a good thing isn't dependent on needless displays of technique or volume in order to make a cogent musical statement. I defy anyone who listens to this disc not to want to immediately listen to it again and again and again - it's that good.

Gajo is an extremely adept musician who finds ways to mix his American gospel/Richard Tee influences, listen to the rolling left hand bass octaves during Blue Sand and the right hand dancing in Rwanda, with his superb feel for time just off-kilter enough to arouse delicate feelings of anticipation, as in the triple meter shifts of Shark Waltz. More than ably supported by longtime under appreciated drummer John Betsch's nimble cymbal work and Avenel's tasteful use of the upper reaches of his upright bass, this trio cooks the way you wish all bands did. If you're a student of jazz and you don't own this recording, shame on you, and if you're a lover of jazz you should have ordered this disc yesterday.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Achille Gajo Trio
  • CD Title: Blue Sand
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Piadrum
  • Tracks: The Window, Mountain of the Night, Test, Blue Sand, Korail, Ida Lupino, Rwanda, I Am Leaving, Bach to Steve and Shark Waltz
  • Musicians: Achille Gajo (piano), Jean-Jacques Avenel (double bass and kora), John Betsch (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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