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Colin Vallon: Le Vent

The Colin Vallon Trio’s second ECM album picks up where the first, Rruga, left off, with its cool detachment, insistent grooves and post-postmodern sensibility. The Swiss pianist and his sidemen, bassist Patrice Moret and new drummer Julian Sartorius, deftly navigate this fairly new but already ingrained territory between piano jazz and rock. Vallon is a student of the Keith Jarrett school and part of the wave of icy, swing-eschewing European pianists-Tord Gustavsen, Nik Bärtsch, Marcin Wasilewski, Ketil Bjørnstad, the late Esbjörn Svensson-who would like jazz to see things their way.

On Le Vent, notes and chords are repeated and repeated, simply and forcefully, a strategy used immediately with Moret’s “Juuichi,” whose meter is deliberately elusive. The other nine compositions are Vallon’s, and the two brief pieces that conclude the album are spacey group improvisations. “Juuichi” and “Immobile” are the most bombastic tunes on Le Vent, as well as the album’s most dramatic, cinematic moments.

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