Pascal Le Boeuf: Pascal’s Triangle

Pascal’s Triangle is probably located, very loosely, on that part of the jazz spectrum also occupied by the likes of e.s.t., the Bad Plus and trios led by Vijay Iyer and Robert Glasper. Pianist and composer Pascal Le Boeuf, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Justin Brown, who began as a subset of the Le Boeuf Brothers Quintet, boast the sonic calling card of a traditional piano trio but fully absorb contemporary influences ranging from art-rock to urban rhythms. The music, all penned by the 26-year-old Le Boeuf, is characterized by moments of great drama, sudden twists and turns, genuine interactivity and a free-spirited vibe nevertheless built on thoughtful arrangements (available for sheet music download from the disc). Opener “Home in Strange Places” triangulates among pretty balladry, jagged groove-making and dark experimental touches, while “What Your Teacher …” is a dazzling, hyperactive dance among three equal partners, and the solo-piano piece “Jesse Holds Louise” feels like sophisticated mood music. This is next-wave jazz of a particularly high caliber.