Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Uri Caine Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard

The arrival of the Uri Caine Trio’s new album, Live at the Village Vanguard, may initially leave you a little flat. After all, Caine’s made his name in part by taking on ever-more-diverse projects, but a lot of artists-heck, a lot of piano trios-have released albums with that title. And many of those albums found those trios jamming through a jazz classic, some standards and a few originals, just as the Caine Trio does here. Live at the Village Vanguard, however, shows that Caine can’t help but make even the routine unpredictable.

This live recording captures (with excellent sound) the adrenaline that must have flowed at the show. You can hear it from the first track, Wayne Shorter’s “Nefertiti,” where bassist Drew Gress, drummer Ben Perowsky and Caine set a blistering pace and challenge each other to keep up; the invention flies high, with riveting solos from Gress and Perowsky, but never quite zooms out of control. The trio swings in classic style on Jimmy Van Heusen’s “All the Way” and “I Thought About You” and Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek,” but Caine’s volatile dynamics and mercurial melodicism, along with more fine solo work from his partners, ensure that the groove always stays surprising. Caine originals “Stiletto” and “Snaggletooth” deliver spiky rhythms that persist even as the trio pushes the tempo, while “Go Deep” and “Most Wanted” allow the trio to relax with gentle, elliptical melodies.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published