Bassist Mads Vinding begins his latest album with two songs closely associated with Miles Davis, and approaches them with more abstraction than the trumpeter did in the 1960s. On “Someday My Prince Will Come,” pianist Jean-Michel Pilc tiptoes around the melody, delaying phrases and cleverly catching up with them before the next change. “My Funny Valentine” becomes a wonderfully dark dirge, rendering the central theme unrecognizable without a diligent search for it.
Things really get wild when they take on “Summertime,” playing it in a fashion combining Duke Ellington’s infamous 1961 trio version with Cecil Taylor. In case it isn’t obvious, all of these attributes are positive: Taking these standards and interpreting them anew makes this an enjoyable outing.
Vinding has played with drummer Billy Hart for more than three decades, supporting Stan Getz and Hank Jones, among others. Pilc comes to the duo fresh, and he displays a diversity that fit right in. Along with his raucous “Hardly Like an Evening Sunset” (clever title, no?), he later shows a tender side on the ballad “Sam.” The trio’s cohesion is never more evident than on the title track, a set of short motifs including a delicate bass intro and some free flying, each section stopping on a dime. Their speedy version of “Straight No Chaser” might be a little too uptempo, but album closer “I Skovens Dybe Stille Ro”—a traditional Danish song led by the bass—rights that wrong by ending the project on a strong spiritual note.