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CD Feature/ ARC Trio: "Triptych Mirror"

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There is jazz, and there is ARC Trio. Three extremely dedicated and gifted musicians, who know each other since forever, team up for this exciting group. Their first release is called Triptych Mirror, and the title illustrates perfectly the concept this album pursues: Let everyone's personal strength and ideas be reflected in the other musicians unique ability, and let everyone's unique performance blend into a new, common picture. A picture called ARC Trio.

This concept has been realized in an almost breathtaking way. Rick Helzer, piano, Justin Grinnell, acoustic bass and Nathan Hubbard, drumkit, percussion and vibraphone are not only accomplished masters of their instruments, they also master the art of blind understanding, effortlessly complementing each another to a degree that at the end a homogeneous result is displayed, equally balanced and creating impressive monolithic music. This, for starters, is something only few really achieve. In this case, it surely has been done.

Let's go to the music. What surprises me is the effortlessness with which these sounds are accomplished. Even extremely difficult technical adventures come as natural and easy as the flight of an albatross without even once moving its wings, just sailing through the atmosphere in perfect harmony and beauty. This characteristic is true for the whole CD. At the same time, there seems to be a constant dialogue going on, one theme reflected like in a mirror - sic - forcing the answer of the other musicians, and all that in an truly emancipated manner. One beautiful example, besides many others, is the interaction between piano and vibraphone on the track sundial l. Absolutely stunning.

There are many other themes, sometimes constructed like a complicated structure, being built with finesse and driven home by creative outbursts, yet being exercised with the precision of a swiss watch. But this precision never ever leads to some boring kind of soulless presentation, just the opposite is true: It enhances the musical themes, it adds to the understanding and the feeling that catches the listeners mind even more effectively.

Equally impressive is the general cutting-across-boundaries atmosphere created on this album: The music clearly steps beyond the usual definitions of modern jazz and sometimes leads into areas, where only the unbiased idea reigns. No definitions, just plain creativity. To be honest, I could not even think about explaining some of the sounds I heard, but I trust that they were somehow achieved with the above mentioned instruments. They add a touch of experiment to the whole work, which surely is not only allowed but desired, blending ideally into the great picture displayed by the Tryptich Mirror.

Well, this first album can only be described as very successful in its musical realization. Every note is worth listening to, and I hope that I will get the opportunity to hear more releases of ARC Trio. Congratulations!

By Fred Wheeler

Homepage: Circumvention Music

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