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The Inventions Trio: Life’s a Movie

Squeezing four discrete sections into a 55-minute album is ambitious stuff, even if three of those sections are tributes to other pianist-composers. But with Life’s a Movie, pianist Bill Mays’ Inventions Trio, a quirky chamber group featuring trumpeter Marvin Stamm and cellist Alisa Horn, prove themselves up to it by end of the second track.

The track in question is “Interplay,” from the album-opening “Homage to Bill Evans” section. Horn opens the tune with cleverly plotted double-stops: one low note, one high, simultaneously evoking bassist Percy Heath and guitarist Jim Hall (from Evans’ original 1962 recording). Stamm and May follow her with impressive solos and then a spectacular duel. And that’s just the beginning; a scintillating “Waltz for Debby” comes soon after, featuring beautiful arco lines from Horn and a dancing collective improvisation from all three.

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