Alan Benzie Trio: Little Mysteries
Three years on from his debut, Traveller’s Tales, pianist Alan Benzie, winner of the first BBC Young Scottish Jazz Musician award in 2007, returns with his long-standing trio of bassist Andrew Robb and drummer Marton Juhasz. The result, mainly featuring Benzie’s compositions, is characteristically lyrical, often impressionistic, with oriental touches reflecting his enthusiasm for things Japanese. Passages of hanging stillness intensify into exploratory urgency, as in the opening Natsume – Robb’s bass murmuring a prelude as piano and percussion chime in, and the subsequent Warrior Who Became a Tiger, where the proceedings open up energetically. In contrast, the Debussy-esque Sunken Ruins unfolds with increasing vigour before receding back into plainchant-like polyphony. The subtle advance of Inexorable is ushered by Juhasz towards a boisterous conclusion, while moments of sublime reflection include Robb’s fetching ballad, Beslan, or the concluding The Rest of His Days.