Sam Anning Trio Listen/hear Collective ★★★★
EACH player in this trio is foremost in Australia on his instrument, although ex-Perth bassist Sam Anning has relocated to New York. Saxophonist Julien Wilson and drummer Allan Browne are longterm luminaries in Melbourne, where the album was recorded. The 11 tracks are comprised of five pieces by Anning, one by Wilson and five wells-elected standards. With the solo bass opening establishing a lyrical melody on track one, Anning’s Cactus Flower, two things are obvious: the beautiful resonance of the recorded instrument and the consummate artistry of its player. Following that intro, shimmering cymbals preface the arrival of Wilson’s softly luscious tenor as Browne sketches an out-of-tempo mallets backdrop to produce a highly sensitive, beautiful ballad. The first of the standards, Little White Lies sets a swinging medium tempo from the start and as Wilson starts an absorbing, enmeshing solo and the bass walks to Browne’s impeccable beat, the effect is nearly transcendental. Wilson plays clarinet on his composition Farewell, with a pretty melody and a south-of-the-border sound that he ornaments engagingly with assistance from a climactic bass solo. Soprano sax and bowed double bass provide a noteworthy opening to Anning’s Through the Open Window and the bass clarinet makes an effective reprise of Cactus Flower. Wilson’s warm tenor tone brings a lazy, sunny mood to Billy Strayhorn’s Little Brown Book, gradually strengthening throughout, and the horn’s lower register is put to excellent effect in The Best Thing for You is Me, followed by very smart and fast solos by all three. A virtuosic trio collection using interestingly varied instrumentation.