Robert Mitchell 3io: Quantum




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)

Much of my formative youth was spent in a neighborhood of Franklin, Massachusetts. Decades after I left, I was back in the area on business and had a few hours to kill. I decided to see the old neighborhood. As I drove down Eldon Drive, I noticed first how all my childhood friends' houses were now under the shade of very large trees. When I was a kid, those trees cast no shadow. I parked my car on the side of the road and got out to walk around. I could not believe how small the homes were. There were families of six or seven people living in those houses when I was growing up! But the strangest perception overtook me as I walked between the blocks. I would swear that all the homes were sitting approximately three feet to the right of where they used to be! It was a bizarre experience. I know they have not moved in the physical sense. But perhaps my added height, my changed vision and the larger environment I had relocated to had all shaped my new view of this long-held memory. Whatever the explanation, I write this preamble now to convey my sense of Robert Mitchell's 3io trio. It is about three feet to the right of other jazz piano trios.

"Quantum" is a perfect example. You expect a jazz piano trio to either swing or play a touching ballad. You expect impressive keyboard runs performed at lightning speed. You know you will hear a piano solo, bass solo or a drum solo. You can be sure these things will occur. None of them happens on this tune. Instead we are presented with ensemble playing that focuses on the spatial and indirect reference. (Is this the atomic world?) Texture and feel are the dominant notes. You may be thinking that I am describing a free jazz performance. But "Quantum" and other cuts from the album are far from that. Free jazz has no plot. The music heard here tells a structured story. It just so happens that the structure is not located where you expected it to be. I wonder where it will be located next time I visit.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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