Cold Snap

David Caldwell-Mason

There are sophisticated elements present in this engaging effort that are metaphorically reminiscent of the Romantically-storied discipline of fencing swordplay. Opponents meet, salute, assume postures and launch into parries, thrusts and lunges in an energized ballet of pure athletic beauty.

With Cold Snap, pianist David Caldwell-Mason assumes the necessary position as leader and thrusts head first into the musical fray – and a most entertaining one it is – with his talented cohorts Kellen Harrison and Ari Hoenig. The result of this match is an energized, intriguing – a most enjoyable - recording.

Pianist Caldwell-Mason, who has recently recorded with fine saxophone artist, Brian Patneaude, demonstrates superb technical chops, rhythmically intense creativity and a refined impressionistic harmonic sense. Fragments fly rapier-like in a never-ending whirl and wrap back on themselves moebius-like ready to launch again. His sonorous Evans-like harmonic textures play marvelous counterpoint to his whirling Tyner-esque fingers. The result is an illusion that there are multiple musical dimensions at work: the advanced rhythmic thought and the flitting and fiery melodic.

Leader Caldwell-Mason also offers up six original compositions, each of which provides the appropriate platform for the superb extended improvisations that follow. The mysterioso “With Fear and Trembling” is a highlight. “Single Ladies,” while not an original, jaunts along in a happy groove. “Talk Talk” speaks of pulses, throbs and dreamy high octave lines over Harrison’s driving bass and Hoenig’s fine set work.

What makes this CD work so well are the energized responses and involved interplay Caldwell-Mason generates with his creations and with terrific cohorts Harrison and Hoenig. All buy heavily and enthusiastically into the tasteful rhythmic/melodic/harmonic fray.

Cold Snap is an intelligent, involving effort. It engages and evokes and is cool enough not to break a sweat doing so.

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Nick Mondello