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Are we living in the Golden Age of the Jazz Piano Trio?

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Piano trio jazz is one of my favorite forms of music (An Oscar Peterson trio album was actually my first or second Jazz albums ever).

 

Of course, one could easily live with the great output of Geniuses like Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, plus Ahmad Jamal, McCoy Tyner, Erroll Garner etc. and would not need any contemporary contribution to this genre at all, and still have a lifetime of musical enjoyment.

 

However, it still feels like we are living right now in the Golden Age of the Jazz piano trio. In the last 15 years we’ve seen the emergence of such an amazing number of great trios that it is really tough to follow them all, hence this thread.

 

Obviously, given the relatively young age of most of these recordings, and the care that was given to many, there are a lot of very well recorded albums there, and these trios and their studios were among the first to switch to high-res recordings as well, so this is happy territory for the Computer Audiophile.

 

What triggered this explosion of great trios? Was it the late Esbjörn Svensson, who brought progressive and rock elements into this format and made it attractive for a younger crowd starting back in 1990? Was it the great success of the “Art of the Trio” sets by Brad Mehldau from 1995 onwards? Whatever it was, it just feels great to be where we are.

 

This thread is to capture and share great discoveries in the Jazz Piano trio, and I’m happy to start with my personal favorites.

 

I’ll just list stuff I either have or have heard elsewhere, in alphabetical order, with the only condition of being trio and after 1995, and highlight some of my personal favorites with stars. And just for the sake of simplicity; I just leave out Keith Jarrett and EST

 

• Alboran Trio (just amazing how good they are)

o Meltemi

o Near Gale (*****)

 

• Stefano Battaglia

o Bill Evans compositions

o Songways

 

• Richard Beirach

o Elm

 

• Avishai Cohen

o At Home

o Gently Disturbed

o Night of Magic

 

• Anat Fort Trio

o And If

 

• The Bad Plus

o Give

• [em]

o Live

 

• Claudio Filippi trio

o Facing North

 

• Aaron Goldberg

o Worlds

 

• Giovanni Guidi Trio

o City of Broken Dreams

 

• Tord Gustavsen Trio

o Changing Places

o The Ground (*****)

 

• Julia Hülsmann Trio

o The End of a Summer

o Imprint (****)

 

• Kari Ikonen Trio

o Bright

 

• Vijay Iyer trio

o Historicity

 

• Benedikt Jahnel trio

o Equilibrium

 

• Bob Mahmet Trio

o Impromptu

 

• Helge Lien Trio (great!)

o Hello Troll (*****)

o Natsukashii

o To the Little Radio

 

• Brad Mehldau

o The Art of the Trio I-V (I really like no. III)

o Anything goes

o Day is Done

 

• Shai Maestro Trio (one of the greatest young talents)

o Shai Maestro Trio (*****)

o The Road to Ithaca

 

• Giovanni Mirabassi (one of my absolute favorite artists, I discovered here at this forum)

o Architectures (*****)

o Live at the Blue Note Toyko (****)

o Out of Track (****)

o Terra Furiosa

 

• Enrico Pieranunzi (another of my personal favorites)

o Ballads (*****)

o Deep Down (*****)

o Dream Dance

o The Chant of Time

o First Song

o Life at the Village Vanguard

o Permutation

o Seaward

 

• Bobo Stenson Trio

o Cantando

o Goodbye

o Serenity

o War Orphans

 

• Baptiste Trotignon

o Fluide

 

• Trio Töykëat

o G’Day

o High Standards

o Kudos

 

• Craig Taborn (not really my cup of tea, but worth mentioning)

o Light Made Lighter

 

• Tingvall Trio

o In Concert (****)

o Norr

o Skagerrak

o Vattensaga

 

• Marcin Wasilewski Trio

o Faithful (****)

o January

o Trio

 

• Phronesis

o Walking Dark (****)

o Alive

 

• Reis/Demuth/Wiltgen

o Reis/Demuth/Wiltgen

 

• Rusconi

o Revolution

 

• John Taylor Trio

o Rosslyn

 

• Christian Wallumrod

o No Birch

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A few more worth consideration:

 

 

Bill Charlap Trio

- Written In The Stars

- Live At The Village Vanguard

 

Alan Pasqua/Dave Carpenter/Peter Erskine

- Standards

- Live At Rocco

 

Fred Hersch Trio

- Alive At The Vanguard

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Musicophile .. wonderful idea for a thread! I own only a couple of the selections included in your original post and just ordered 5 from Amazon. You have marvelous taste sir :)

 

Pianist extraordinaire Emmet Cohen comes to mind (thanks again to Richard). On Facebook he often mentions playing with his trio (hope that qualifies him).

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Musicophile .. wonderful idea for a thread! I own only a couple of the selections included in your original post and just ordered 5 from Amazon. You have marvelous taste sir :)

 

Pianist extraordinaire Emmet Cohen comes to mind (thanks again to Richard). On Facebook he often mentions playing with his trio (hope that qualifies him).

Emmet Cohen is great, I agree.

 

Please share when you get your little package from the big river what you ordered and how you like it.

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A few more worth consideration:

 

 

Bill Charlap Trio

- Written In The Stars

- Live At The Village Vanguard

 

Alan Pasqua/Dave Carpenter/Peter Erskine

- Standards

- Live At Rocco

 

Fred Hersch Trio

- Alive At The Vanguard

I know now of the above except for Fred Hersch. Just what I excepted, this thread will lead to more music! Great!

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They're not exactly mainstream, but The Bad Plus deserve a mention here.


Office: MacBook Pro - Audirvana Plus - Resonessence Concero - Cavailli Liquid Carbon - Sennheiser HD 800.

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They're not exactly mainstream, but The Bad Plus deserve a mention here.

You'll find "Give" in the list above (sorted under B, maybe that's why you missed it), although I'm a bit torn on The Bad Plus .

 

In my personal opinion, their best album I've heard is "For All I Care", but this is not a pure trio album, so I didn't list it. There's some other stuff of them that is not really my cup of tea. But fully agree, they need a mention.

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Emmet Cohen is great, I agree.

 

Please share when you get your little package from the big river what you ordered and how you like it.

 

- Julia Hülsmann Trio: Imprint

- Brad Mehldau: The Art of the Trio 1-4 (5 was a bit expensive so I'll look elsewhere)

 

I've been listening to Brad Mehldau quite a bit lately via Pandora, etc. to become more acquainted with his music. Your recommendations came at a perfect time.

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- Julia Hülsmann Trio: Imprint

- Brad Mehldau: The Art of the Trio 1-4 (5 was a bit expensive so I'll look elsewhere)

 

I've been listening to Brad Mehldau quite a bit lately via Pandora, etc. to become more acquainted with his music. Your recommendations came at a perfect time.

Julia Hülsmann is great, and Imprint is to my ears her best album. I had the pleasure of seeing her live on the tour where she launched this album.

 

For Brad Mehldau, note that the entire box is available as well:

 

Amazon.com: The Art of the Trio: Recordings 1996-2001: Music

 

Brad Mehldau: The Art of the Trio - Recordings 1996-2001

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I don't know if it will fit in the mold, but just in case...

 

Jessica Williams:

- Jazz in the Afternoon

 

I had to type "Jessica Williams - pianist" on Google, since only her name brought many different persons.

 

I got it on Qobuz, but I know she as her own label and she made a lot of albums...


Alain

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I have had many opportunities to see The Bad Plus and have never been able to get into them that much.


No electron left behind...

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Here’s one that’s been on my list to try, but just haven’t gotten around to ordering it yet. The short samples on Amazon and allmusic.com sound well recorded. Appears to be straight ahead jazz, which is very much to my liking.

 

Akayo Shirasaki

- Some Other Time

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Ok, just one more. I’m most familiar with Aaron Diehl from his recent quartet release ‘The Bespoke Man’s Narrative’, on which he plays a sublime rendition of Ellington’s composition, ‘Single Pedal of a Rose’ (probably one of the most beautiful pieces of music I know). However, he also has a fine trio release from 2012, which makes him eligible for this thread. I think this guy truly talented. Give a listen if you have a chance.

 

Aaron Diehl Trio

- Live At The Players

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Ok, just one more. I’m most familiar with Aaron Diehl from his recent quartet release ‘The Bespoke Man’s Narrative’, on which he plays a sublime rendition of Ellington’s composition, ‘Single Pedal of a Rose’ (probably one of the most beautiful pieces of music I know). However, he also has a fine trio release from 2012, which makes him eligible for this thread. I think this guy truly talented. Give a listen if you have a chance.

 

Aaron Diehl Trio

- Live At The Players

Nice one. I like the Bespoke Man, so this sounds interesting.

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Hello,

Wonderful idea to start that kind of thread. Maybe would be also nice to put which ones are in hi rez and really benefit from that.

 

One of my favs are:

 

Vassilis Tsabropoulos, Arild Andersen & John Marshall - Achirana

Vassilis Tsabropoulos, Arild Andersen & John Marshall - Triangle

Marcin Wasilewski Trio - January

Anat Fort Trio - And If

Anat Fort Trio - A Long Story

Tord Gustavsen Trio - The Ground

 

This on is not Trio, but Qartet, but latest Julia Hulsmann In Full View album is excellent.


--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

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Hello,

Wonderful idea to start that kind of thread. Maybe would be also nice to put which ones are in hi rez and really benefit from that.

 

One of my favs are:

 

Vassilis Tsabropoulos, Arild Andersen & John Marshall - Achirana

Vassilis Tsabropoulos, Arild Andersen & John Marshall - Triangle

Marcin Wasilewski Trio - January

Anat Fort Trio - And If

Anat Fort Trio - A Long Story

Tord Gustavsen Trio - The Ground

 

This on is not Trio, but Qartet, but latest Julia Hulsmann In Full View album is excellent.

I need to check out Mr Tsabropoulos (Greek I presume?).

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I need to check out Mr Tsabropoulos (Greek I presume?).

 

Yes. He has also some solo piano albums and classical work with Anja Lechner "Gurdjieff Chants, Hymns and Dances" - the last one is also my favorite. Let me know if you like him?


--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

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Don't forget about this one: Torque Trio - Osmosis

 

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However, more or less many of these new piano trios sounds like post-E.S.T heritage, do you agree?


--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

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Don't forget about this one: Torque Trio - Osmosis

 

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However, more or less many of these new piano trios sounds like post-E.S.T heritage, do you agree?

Didn't know this one. Will check it out.

 

On EST, indeed, they've been hugely influential, in modernizing the concept of the piano trio, and bring in some new influences.

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