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Mario Pavone’s Dialect Trio: Chrome (Playscape)

Review of trio album led by New England-based bassist

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Cover of Mario Pavone Dialect Trio album Chrome
Cover of Mario Pavone Dialect Trio album Chrome

Bassist Mario Pavone has been digging into the depths and moving toward the outer limits for half a century, both as a flexible backbone of and a communicative partner in bands led by Paul Bley, Bill Dixon and Thomas Chapin, and as a leader with expansive visions all his own.  The jazz avant-garde holds him near and dear, but his language doesn’t necessarily lean hard left.  In fact, it’s downright direct and pointed in presentation. Or at least that’s the case when his Dialect Trio gets down to business.

This particular outfit, first introduced on record with 2015’s Blue Dialect, is robust and rubbery. And it’s a group that’s only gotten better over time. With the leader’s bass serving as catalyst and pugilist, protean drummer Tyshawn Sorey whirling behind the kit and pianist Matt Mitchell connecting the dots and painting angular canvases above and within the fray, Chrome proves to be utterly captivating. It’s most certainly an information-dense event, but don’t let the occasional ruckus fool you: This is one cohesive and coherent beast of a record.

The locked-in dynamic that introduces “Cobalt” and the stretched approach that follows come to serve as two sides of the same coin here. Order needs freedom to place it in sharp relief, and the Dialect Trio is more than willing to demonstrate how to reconcile those elements of expression. “Ancestors”—the longest track on the album, clocking in at just over eight minutes—is particularly inspired in its marriage of the two. The occasional mutated Monk-ish strain reveals itself in the attractive angularity of the music, but this is a band that essentially speaks with its own patois.   

Preview, buy or download songs from the album Chrome by Mario Pavone’s Dialect Trio on iTunes.

Read Mike Shanley’s review of the album Blue Dialect by Mario Pavone from the September 2015 issue of JazzTimes.

Originally Published