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Romain Collin: The Calling

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Sidestepping the head-solos-head formula that most jazz piano trios use to death, French-born Romain Collin and his crew of bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Kendrick Scott summon up evocative soundscapes that develop gradually, as on the bombastic “Storm” and the darkly minimalist title track. The pianist flaunts prodigious technique on the kinetic “Runner’s High” and the quirky stop-time vehicle “Pennywise the Clown,” then reveals his classical training on the ruminative, arpeggiated “Strange,” the ambient “Aftermath” and the delicate solo piece “One Last Try,” which bears the stamp of Chopin’s nocturnes. They deliver an instrumental version of John Mayer’s romantic “Stop This Train,” as well as a reharmonized arrangement of Horace Silver’s “Nica’s Dream,” then encroach on Bad Plus territory with the rhapsodic power ballad “Greyshot,” which uses heavily processed drums to affect an arena-rock sound. Clever stuff, but definitely not for jazz purists.

Originally Published