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Jazz

Myriad 3

The Where

[Alma]

3 stars

The idea is a familiar one by now. Heaven knows we’ve been hearing minor and even drastic re-creations of piano trios in jazz – acoustic and otherwise – for a long while now, what with E.S.T., The Bad Plus, Medeski, Martin and Wood and the music of Brad Mehldau (which, when electrified, goes a long way away from Bill Evans, Michel Petrucciani and Keith Jarrett).

This is the second disc by the young Canadian trio Myriad 3, composed of Chris Donnelly on piano and synthesizer, Don Fortini on bass and Ernesto Cervini on drums and percussion.

The music here is wildly and impressively eclectic. “The Strong One” is, paradoxically, a tender and very beautiful modal ballad.

It’s followed by the appropriately named “Bebop Medley,” which surreally juxtaposes Bud Powell’s “Un Poco Loco” with, among other things, Monk tunes, Dizzy Gillespie’s “Manteca” and lord-knows-what. The end result is a collection of fragments without meaning – rather cheekily and intentionally so.

The title composition by bassist Fortin, he says, “came from a New York Times article I was reading about a guy kayaking in a canyon, mapping it for Google. The idea that all information – who, what, where – can be commodified left me thinking for a while.” And writing fascinating music.

The other nouveau piano jazz trios would get this disc. Gillespie too, maybe. It’s hard to dislike a disc where the drummer got an idea for a tune from the rhythmic accents made by his clothes dryer.

I’m not sure Monk and Bud Powell would like it at all, though. It really is a different musical beast altogether from conventional acoustic piano trios in jazz.

– Jeff Simon