John Moulder: Trinity

John Moulder of Chicago spent five years composing the material for his album Trinity. It’s an epic three-part program inspired by religious belief, but it can be appreciated on any number of levels. The sound of the recording is tremendous, as are the performances-from such players as pianist Laurence Hobgood, saxophonist Brad Wheeler, trumpeter Tito Carrillo, reedist Paul McCandless, drummer Paul Wertico and others. Moulder spends ample time on acoustic guitars, both steel and nylon, but he takes distorted electric solos on “Exodus” and elsewhere. He also multi-tracks a number of instruments, including Dobro, on the concluding second-line piece “Freedom.” The tracks range from the Metheny-like drama of “Resurrection” to the burning sextet jazz of “Proclamation of the Unexpected.” McCandless plays superb English horn on “Incarnation” and “Pieta” and remarkably fluent bass clarinet on “Sorrowful Mysteries.”

Moulder impresses with his harmonic imagination and sheer ambition. The orchestrations are varied and fine-grained, not to mention expertly produced by Moulder and Brad Peters. (Pianist Ryan Cohan orchestrated two cuts but does not play on the record.) Some will find Moulder’s aesthetic a bit overripe, but to these ears it is probing and kaleidoscopic.

David R. Adler

David R. Adler writes about jazz and assorted topics. His work has appeared in JazzTimes, NPR Music, WBGO.org, The Philadelphia InquirerThe Village Voice, DownBeat, Time Out New York, and many other publications. From 2010-2017 he taught jazz history at the Aaron Copland School of Music (Queens College-CUNY). In summer 2017, after 30 years in New York (apart from two in Philadelphia), David relocated with his family to Athens, Georgia. There he continues to write about music and perform solo as a guitarist/vocalist.