Emmet Cohen‘s trio put together some intelligent original songs and a few standards. The CD, which is his debut, is called In The Element. Cohen is the pianist of the the trio and is joined by Joe Sanders on bass and drummer Rodney Green.
At 21, he’s already accumulated awards and accolades and the music on this CD is evidence why. It’s beautiful stuff. This is jazz that does not force you to take notice of it, but intrigues you until you do. It’s feel-good music, the piano is a delight. Sanders and Green are so perfectly balanced with the piano on all these songs it’s hard to remember they’re just a trio; it sounds like an ensemble at times, though remaining personal as a trio should.
There’s no exuberance of youth on display here, either. It’s mature arrangements, subtle and subdued harmonies. The music speaks for itself; it swings, it stirs, it’s intelligent, lyrical precise. Cohen has all the elements on display here for a magnificent sounding trio whose music is discerning and approachable.
Pianist and composer Michael Cain has a new CD available now called Solo. It contains the five following compositions, all originals composed and performed by Cain:
- The Question
- Last Waltz
This work is a beautiful and precise thirty-five minutes. Cain was “initially a jazz major” but “found that classical music was occupying more of his time and switched to that major.” The first minute or so of the opening track displays Cain’s classical music influence. But the liberating jazz foundation is still there on these tracks.
But there’s more than just traditional piano going on here. There’s some pretty cool electronics and some surreal funkiness, almost Barry White-ish without the shallow sound of the 70s. The electronics at times sounded like the pin scratching old vinyl, or aliens sucking out brains (really, and not gross) . The electronics lend, I felt, a modern edge to this music; The electronic insertions, when they weren’t the bass lines and drum beats (at least, I’m guessing that those instruments were electronically produced), were interludes that complemented the improvisational and scattered nature of the piano.
But Cain’s piano was beautiful and tranquil during the majority of the CD. The electronics never detracted from it. The second track, “Prayer”, has ended up being my favorite. It sounds funereal, hymnal, the somber, slow tones aching and resonating like the tender climax of a sad romance. And he displays a nearly sacred feel as he plays through the musical scale. Perhaps that’s the classical influence.
His arrangements of piano and electronic sound effects is intriguing and well played. It’s old and new altogether.