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Triptych Myth: The Beautiful

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Triptych Myth–Cooper-Moore (piano), Tom Abbs (bass) and Chad Taylor (drums)–can’t be pinned down easily as a particular type of piano trio. They excel at free excursions that evoke Cecil Taylor’s Candid recordings, but they sound equally at home with softer, lyrical ballads. Free jazz might often consist of blistering, harsh sonorities, but these three prove that the quest for beauty is as much a part of this music as catharsis.

Opener “All Up in It” features a Bud Powell-esque theme that leads Cooper-Moore into an exploratory solo where his right hand answers the left hand’s prompts, dropping sprinkles of notes from the upper register. “Frida K. The Beautiful” is a thoughtful salute to painter Frida Kahlo, where piano and bass maintain a somber mood while Taylor practically dances over the music. He performs similarly in “Pooch,” a dedication to the late bassist Wilber Morris, which again bolsters a theme marked by warmth and sweetness.

“Poppa’s Gin in the Chicken Feed” starts with a calypso beat that shifts into hard bop, earning Taylor a nomination for the funky-drummer award. Abbs’ “Trident” never moves beyond some vicious arco work, but he adds plenty of strong statements throughout the album, such as “A Time To,” which he bows with passion.