This new international chamber-jazz trio with classical and avant leanings features beautiful tunes and tasty improvisation. Canadian clarinetist François Houle, British pianist Alexander Hawkins, and NY-based Canadian drummer Harris Eisenstadt are highly regarded leaders and genuinely sympatico.
The program features original compositions by all three plus pieces by Steve Lacy, Andrew Hill and Charles Ives. The group first came together for the 2014 Vancouver jazz festival and played some wild improvisational music but the record is mostly on the more lyrical and contemplative side. Houle and Eisenstadt and Hawkins and Eisenstadt have long histories of performing together, but Alex and François had not met previously.
Their performing blend is different from previous Houle projects on Songlines with European pianists Benoît Delbecq and Håvard Wiik - perhaps more classically poised and spacious, but warm rather than cool, and with an edge when needed. Harris's fastidious, highly textured drumming is the perfect percussive complement.
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