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Album Review

ALBUM REVIEW
Geoff Peters Trio's Quiet Night gets existential, impulsive
Christopher Lacroix
July 24, 2009

A Vancouver jazz ensemble scratches out a second long-play that's, at times, wry-witty; at times, rye whisky. Geoff Peters Trio's Quiet Night is part original and part cover, recorded on an old Steinway grand. It's also an exploration of self. It entertains many philosophies but arrives at a humbling conclusion. The lads, their followers are beginning to learn, are thoughtful but more neurotic with every release.

The trio tight rope walks on the edge of jazz and pop, mainstream and creativity. What else could you expect from a city that produces jazz greats of that kind. The group follows Diana Krall, Michael Buble and others. But pianist Geoff Peters says Keith Jarret, Bill Evans and Kenny Barron are greater influences. Listeners might also detect elements of Brad Mehldau's Trio, the Bad Plus and the Chick Corea New Trio.

Peters authors the album differently from his first. For starters, he throws away his sheet music. The idea is to be spontaneous -- to make every note live for its own sake, not simply because it was written. He takes the skeleton of his first track and massages it into something organic and fresh, even to him. Then, he does it 13 times.

Maybe it's his sense of humour that has him place the title track back into ink and sell it as instructional sheet music.

Part of the album's distinctiveness comes from the percussion: Greg Murray, an indie rocker who drops tastes of the genre on this track and that. He's happy to have no visual cues.

"The less we rely on reading the sheet music, the better we play," he says. "We can pay more attention to one another without the distraction of the written chart. Better focus and interaction allows us to stray from the traditional version of the song further than we normally could, allowing us to come up with something more unique, new and exciting."

Mark White adds soul on the bass guitar.

Producer Alan Wong Moon is normally a film and video-game audio engineer. His background gives the cuts a dramatic sensibility. Moon made no cuts within the songs; they're presented as they were performed.

Don't be misled by the opening track. It's there to fool you. Delicate plays coy. Its mature, sobre three-four sounds dupe an audience. No waltz should erupt into a climax of mania and, so, it rejects its own genre.

The title track picks up on the success of the group's latest video with an extended cut. The song pokes through an evening's lethargy: delusion, that's the secret. Of course, the song, like hysteria, winds up the way it began and goes to sleep alone.

For Kris is that inevitable musing that love is somehow the key to fulfillment. Swingy, jocular, a piano pronounces an ode to some object of desire. The feeling passes.

Another piece, a bossa nova on the open water, can't explain why a glass of wine (who knows what colour) splashes in one's hand. Why the need to thin the blood to keep from bleeding?

The last original song of the album is the closest the musings and anyone can come to self understanding. It blankets the pain in sarcasm and moves on. The measures are neither triumphant nor lamenting. Like life, they merely exist. The track is named Balance in All Things.

The album also puts a spin on jazz standards, notably Miles Davis' All Blues, Wayne Shorter's Footprints and Joe Henderson's Recordame.

Geoff Peters Trio's Quiet Night is available on gpeters.com and iTunes.

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