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Jim Ridl Trio: Live

It doesn’t sound as if there were too many in the audience when the Jim Ridl trio recorded Live (Dreambox DMJ-1055; 66:02). That’s a shame, because those who came out two years ago heard a very hard-working trio deliver a satisfying performance. Ridl’s style isn’t easy to categorize: he can play vertical games, even as he sets up a well-articulated, fine line through some of the challenging harmonic courses he crafts for himself. “First Rose” is a thorny structure whose progression seems to wring whole-tone scalar figures out of the piano. Ridl reworks both “Caravan” and “Cherokee” into wide-open frameworks that give him, bassist Steve Varner and drummer Jim Miller plenty of stretching room. This is a trio that takes lots of chances, and delivers handsomely most of the time.

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