Robert Mitchell 3io: Cumulus




Robert Mitchell 3io


The Greater Good (Jazz Services JSLCD002)

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Robert Mitchell (piano),

Tom Mason (bass), Richard Spaven (drums)


Composed by Robert Mitchell


Recorded: Luton, England, March 2008


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

I have a stack of CDs on my desk that I audio scan to determine which cuts are worthy of review. Once I have picked a cut, I listen to the full tune and review it as I listen. Because of time constraints, I rarely get to listen to a whole album these days. That is a fault of our busy modern lifestyles and CDs that contain far too much music. At some point, I will write a blog about this need artists have to fill up the whole 74 minutes of a CD. I think it is detrimental to the art. We don't have the time in a day to sit still and really listen for 74 minutes. But now I have gotten off track already. The point to my story is that I just don't have time to listen to music the way I wish I could. Yet every once in a while, something will grab me and I must make time for it. Such was the case with this release by Robert Mitchell's trio (which he spells 3io). I used the only free moments I have these days, late-night bedtime, to listen to the CD in its entirety instead of counting sheep.

I have heard many jazz piano trios. I know what to expect. But this trio is different. Parts of The Greater Good are not that different from the other impressive progressive jazz piano groups I often write about. Like those, this 3io has driving rhythms and chops to spare. But I am more interested in the introspection of "Cumulus" and some other tunes. The easy analogy is to compare the piece to the clouds it refers to. But you could do that with almost any New Age piano music. New Age can be relaxing but it contains no drama. "Cumulus," though, is literally dripping with it. There is a deep thought in every note of Mitchell's playing. At times he proceeds so slowly that we have time to think about each note right along with him. You talk about controlling time? Mitchell, bassist Tom Mason and drummer Richard Spaven have mastered it. Since the Robert Mitchell 3io went to such effort to do so, the least I can do is to make the time to join them. Any time listening to this music is time well spent. (By the way, the album clocks in at about 60 minutes.)

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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