Trion (feat. Chris Potter & Linda May Han Oh)
Drummer Johnathan Blake is a native of the great jazz city of Philadelphia and son of noted violinist John Blake, Jr. (composer of this album’s “Blue Heart”). He’s amassed sideman credits with Tom Harrell, Kenny Barron, and many more, but he’s also distinguished himself for years as a leader. On the double album Trion, he rides a hurricane as he convenes with two giants, bassist Linda May Han Oh and tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, in a long and exploratory trio summit. All three contribute tunes—including Blake’s “High School Daze” and “West Berkley St.,” Oh’s “Trope,” and Potter’s “Good Hope”—but some of the most potent, free-spirited material is by The Police (“Synchronicity 1,” in the original 6/4 time signature) and Charlie Parker (“Relaxing at the Camarillo,” the classic blues in C). Music on this level can contain all sorts of nonverbal messages, like when Potter slyly quotes Dizzy Gillespie’s “Bebop” in the outro to Blake’s “No Bebop Daddy.” Each player is amply and repeatedly featured, but the trio sounds like a genuine collective, not stars hunkering down in their respective corners.