From Live in Arklow a new trio album to be released on the Ubuntu label from the American pianist George Colligan, best known for his work with Jack DeJohnette, in-demand Irish bassist David Redmond and the Madeleine Peyroux and Brandon Flowers drummer from Northern Ireland, Darren Beckett.
To gauge what the trio have done to the revered Freddie Hubbard composition go back to Three Blind Mice the 1962 Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers album and listen first. Obviously that begins with a drum solo the tune arranged for a bigger band Hubbard himself taking the melody lead on trumpet with Cedar Walton quietly accompanying on piano before you hear trombonist Curtis Fuller contributing behind and Jymie Merritt's bass starting to figure while you have to wait until Hubbard finishes for Wayne Shorter on tenor sax to solo as applause for Hubbard rings out.
On the Colligan version the tune begins with a brief piano solo and then unaccompanied he solos on the melody with Beckett entering on brushes and Redmond circling in on the tonality of the piece. When Colligan goes up into the higher octave eerie of the piano towards the end of stating the melody he shows his considerable panoramic vision before the improvisation then steers away from the melody. By using the tactic of paraphrase it keeps the melody still in the listener's rear view mirror and so then when he detours later that aide memoire is always there like a familiar face even when a disguise is rendered by the harmonies. Beckett as the tune progresses becomes more spang-a-lang and thankfully louder and there is a great engagement here, Redmond very firm. Colligan really swings hard.
Live in Arklow was recorded during the 2018 Bray Jazz Festival in Arklow's Methodist church and like the Blakey long before, comes complete with applause. More on the album, the signs are good, when it comes out next month.
George Colligan pictured, top. Photo: via Ubuntu.