Michael Pavone plays with the authority only 20 journeyman years can give you. His endurance may be genetically derived, as he is the son of bassist Mario Pavone, from whom it is reasonable to surmise that the younger Pavone soaked up everything he needed concerning commitment and integrity, far rarer assets than monster chops. Regardless, his work on Trio has an authenticity that's sorely lacking among a generation who has been taught music, instead of being taught to live music. This is not to say this is an overwhelming album: it's relatively modest-but honest.
There are three components that give Trio its substance. First and foremost is the smart rhythmic interplay between the Pavones and drummer Marcello Pellitteri. Each tune has savory shifts in feel and spikes in intensity that underscore the second component, the solid writing of Michael and Mario Pavone. They share a knack for well-turned phrases that intersect the changes at striking angles and then resolve with a twist. Their uncluttered themes are well advanced by the third component, Michael Pavone's tendency to employ a clean sound, unlarded by effects, which places the often-subtle complexities of his solos in a clear light. In the few instances when he fattens his sound with hardware, it is refreshingly tasteful.
Michael Pavone has everything the denizens of JT's Power Index crave to market: a relative unknown with movie-star looks, a bona fide jazz pedigree and a winning musical personality. He also has what it takes for the long haul, which is infinitely more important.