Carole Nelson Trio - One Day in Winter - Album Review

One Day In Winter is the sort of recording that keeps one on the edge of their seat throughout. The trio brings a deep empathy with European Jazz-making on one hand; the sparseness and melodicism, while keeping the tradition of Jazz music at the fore and even making space for Irish traditional elements in the inaugural piece Beata Viscera. But this is no fusion record. The trio have a singular vision, and the many influences are naturally expressed in the whole. This is a piano trio that finds a way to swing gently but stridently through a plethora of feels. No contrivances here, this is real.

Nelson’s piano has melodicism that brings to mind players such as Keith Jarrett and Paul Bley, without mimicry or direct reference. She has managed to incorporate the approach of these elders while making the content her own. Something that gives the whole recording a sense that we are hearing her own voice, and that is pleasurable indeed.

Cormac O’Brien’s bass is wonderful here. He is the epitome of the supportive accompanist while still leaving an indelible print upon the music. The sound is genuine (and also well-recorded), a sort of woody sound that makes me think of Scott LaFaro a little on this particular album. O’Brien is the sort of bass player that every Jazz musician wants to play with; the perfect juggler of risk-taking and foundation.

Drummer Dominic Mullan is likewise found in full service of the music here. For instance, as the track Snow is Falling begins one is barely even aware of the most subtle textures he is gently adding. This builds through what is a quite profound arc during the four minute piece, and that is all being driven by how Mullan manipulates the energy. Conversely, when it is time to swing his placement can really drive the trio into that realm of “quiet fire” which is so gratifying to hear in these types of melodic piano trios.

This is a record that doesn’t shy away from its art, and yet the high level musicianship should be no barrier to the casual listener. Never does it feel anyone has anything to prove. This is simply solid and uncompromising playing from three highly enjoyable players. The compositions are always interesting, yet avoid overt complexity – no small feat indeed for Nelson as composer. This is a recording that doesn’t get predictable at any point, with each track providing a window into different, and continually surprising, aspects of the group. Highly recommended.

Daniel Rorke
Author: Daniel RorkeWebsite:
Daniel Rorke is an Irish/Australian dual national, a saxophone player, and a Doctor Who fan. When not occupied with Daleks or John Coltrane, he sometimes writes reviews in support of his fellow musicians.
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