White Shoulders (Live)
The Mob, the Crowd, the Mass (Live)
That’s a Shame (Live)
Spares and Falls (Live)
One of a crop of contemporary players bringing the cornet back to the fore as a solo instrument, New Yorker Kirk Knuffke embarks on a rewarding trio adventure with bassist Mark Helias and drummer Bill Goodwin on Brightness: Live in Amsterdam. The open, spacious texture of the trio suits the Bimhuis concert venue well, with Knuffke’s horn in the lead but Helias and Goodwin very much assertive partners in dialogue. (Goodwin played a major part in Knuffke’s 2015 release Lamplighter.) The album marks a couple of firsts for Knuffke: his first live recording and his first time showcasing his singing voice—a lithe, bluesy, expressive instrument heard on “White Shoulders” and at the end of the funky “The Mob, the Crowd, the Mass.” There’s a bit of a New Orleans rhythmic kick in “Rise,” while the folk-like minor-key balladry of “Brightness,” the fast-tempo swing of “Odds,” and the loosely flowing abstractions and meditations of “That’s a Shame” and “Spares and Falls” consistently change up the mood.