JAZZ

Alan Ben­zie Trio: Lit­tle Mys­ter­ies

The Scotsman - - Arts - Jim Gilchrist

Own La­bel

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.

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