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Fire in the Soul by Bob Ravenscroft Trio

Fire in the Soul is a very nice trio date from pianist Bob Ravenscroft. This is a live album with a somewhat unusual provenance. The recordings document performances from the "Jazz Vespers" series at Ascension Lutheran Church in Paradise Valley, AZ. The trio's material, however, is not obviously religious in nature. The title track by Ravenscroft does speak of the spiritual, but the balance of the set consists mainly of free improvisations, an original blues and covers from artists like Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock.

Whatever programmatic elements may or may not be here, this is a fine collection of mostly straight-ahead but occasionally daring jazz. Bookended by two swinging blues numbers, Bill Evans' "The Opener" and Ravenscroft's "Blues for GR," the group seems to delight in establishing a classic piano trio vibe, straying from it into uncharted territory, and then returning. Ravenscroft is good at varying styles, recalling Evans, McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea at different times while also displaying his own originality. Bassist Steve Millhouse and drummer Rob Schuh match him well, the former showing a keen feel for when to play melodically and when to simply anchor the rhythm, the latter providing occasional bursts of tone color and driving tracks like "Improv 5" and the Monkian "Improv 6."

The Bob Ravenscroft Trio is a fine ensemble. You hear from time to time about the various accomplished but unsung musicians playing outside of the major music cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago; add Bob Ravenscroft of Arizona to that list. The trio shows a unwavering devotion to great jazz on Fire in the Soul.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bob Ravenscroft Trio
  • CD Title: Fire in the Soul
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Ravenswave
  • Rating: Four Stars
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