Monday, April 29, 2013
Adam Nussbaum, George Kontrafouris and Jiannis Pavlidis Trio
Before considering the music here it is significant to gain insight into the pedigree of the musicians involved. Adam Nussbaum may be a familiar name amongst those who value their jazz drummers. In 1978 he joined Dave Liebeman’s quintet and toured Europe with John Schofield. He formed a renowned trio with Steve Swallow and John Schofield, and, in 1983, became a component of the Gil Evans Orchestra, and found himself playing alongside the legendary Stan Getz. Over the years his name has been associated with the great and the good in jazz, notably Gary Burton, Toots Thielemans, Michael Brecker, the Carla Bley Big Band, John Abercrombie, Sonny Rollins, Art Pepper and Kenny Wheeler. Born in Athens, Greece in 1967, Giorgos Kontrafouris studied classical piano before turning his interest towards jazz at the age of 16. He has performed piano and organ with such luminaries as Arild Andersen, Andy Sheppard, Marcus Stockhausen and Bob Brozman. Swedish born guitarist Jiannis Pavlidis started professional work in 1983 and has made numerous live appearances around England, Greece, Cyprus, Sweden, Serbia and the USA with, amongst others, David Liebman and Adam Nussbaum. He currently teaches at the Leeds College of Music and Leeds Metropolitan University.
The trio have been touring since 2007 and in 2011 decided to record their first album. The three tracks available for review, all compositions by Jiannis Pavlidis, show a subtle grasp of arrangement that infuse these compositions with sophistication and depth, and, arguably that most elusive of elements, swing. The first piece “Counter Fury” opens seductively before the introductory motif guides the tune through a number of opulently charming solos. The pace moves between urgent and comfortable and lends the piece charisma and grace. “Sco Away” is an altogether more relaxed affair reminiscent, as suggested in the title, of John Schofield’s playing at his more pensive. As the arrangement progresses the tempo remains peaceful whilst the intensity of the soloing increases to bring to mind Schofield’s playing in the Miles Davis band. “Brother Charles” is more upbeat in character, but still retains the charm of the previous pieces. The production is tight and crisp and is the perfect platform to display each element of this trio at an equal level. The playing is indicative of three musicians who have a wealth of experience between them that is used to bring empathy to the performances, and which promise much for a full length release and live shows to come.