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Hit Couleurs JAZZ

I’ve already written it here and there – and I’m far from being the only one – the piano/bass/drums trio has become for some time now particularly invasive in the record shops’ bins.

Especially since a good part of this production, on both sides of the Atlantic, consists in trying to occupy the niche left free by the disappearance of the EST trio (following the death of its leader Esbjörn Swensson in 2008) or in following the footsteps of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett or Brad Mehldau’s trios.

When a trio that escapes such influences appears in the world jazzosphere, it is a delight for the jazz critic and – one hopes – for the public in general.

And this is objectively the case with Orbit, a leaderless equilateral trio composed of Frenchmen Stéphan Oliva (piano) and Sébastien Boisseau (double bass) and American drummer Tom Rainey. The pianist and the drummer, both in their sixties, have a number of projects to their credit in various formats –

Oliva‘s solo projects in particular – and Boisseau, the youngest member of the trio, has been a much sought-after sideman for nearly three decades, not only in France but in Europe.

Between them, they form the Orbit trio, which offers here its second recording.

The first was released in 2019. What unites these three strong personalities is above all a love of melody that shines through in the slow tempo themes as well as in the more up-tempo pieces and that makes even the few double bass or drum solos sing. Their other common point is the taste for the collective, which manifests itself in a mutual listening of great intensity that results in a perfectly unique and identifiable band sound. This goes hand in hand with an eminently personal approach to their instruments by each member of the trio.

Oliva, Boisseau and Rainey have developed over the years a totally singular identity and it is the compatibility of these identities that led them to create this trio and to want to record again after several years of complicity (the trio was born in May 2016 at the Europa Jazz Festival in Le Mans) and a few tours limited by the restrictions due to covid.

Even if the pianist writes most of the repertoire, it is obvious that it is the whole group that gives life to these compositions. And “Orbit“, a little-known theme from the pen of Bill Evans that gives the trio its name, is a reminder of what Oliva owes to the American pianist he has always admired without imitating him, which led him at the beginning of the century to record with Paul Motian, the drummer of Evans’ historic sessions with bassist Scott LaFaro.

It is thus with a fascinating group without models that we have to deal with Orbit and the announcement of their tour in autumn 2023 should attract the attention of the programmers and cause a feverish wait from the amateurs of beautiful trio.

Line up:

Stéphan Oliva : piano

Sébastien Boisseau : double bass

Tom Rainey : drums

Orbit is an abumYolk Records

©Photo Header, Hugo Le Bail

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