Paul Plimley Trio: Safe-Crackers

Great white flakes of snow swirl wildly outside my window, then calm down, flutter gently and shrink, almost disappearing, leaving mostly gray sky. Inside, Paul Plimley’s music flies around in a storm of its own, matching what’s outside, then pushing on, taking it farther into the stratosphere. It stops and starts and rages, then quietly settles down, gently lulling before moving on to another stormy sphere.

And so pianist Plimley and his group fill his compositions with varying textures, spaces and shadings. On “Many People” Plimley lays down a melody, then leaves it far behind mixing single notes with crashing clusters, while in “Shards of Surmountability” his quiet tinkling is moody and almost delicate. The title track begins with a flash of Scott Amendola’s drums followed by Plimley’s onrush of notes; then Lisle Ellis’ bass stretches out the space with plucks, scratches and moans. Ellis exhibits speed and dexterity with a bass ride on “Here’s What Happened.”

Other titles show more of Plimley’s imagination. “Fishing for Bobby’s Treasure Chess,” “Basquiat Ball,” and “We Got Noh Rhythm” are a few examples. The group closes out the set with the only non-original on the recording, an exquisite straightforward rendition of Claude Thornhill’s “Snowfall,” a gentle snow that brings calm.