Friday, July 11, 2014

Danny Fox Trio: Wide Eyed

Danny Fox Trio
Wide Eyed (Hot Cup Records; 2014)
Danny Fox (piano)
Chris Van Voorst (bass)
Max Goldman (drums)

I always have the discussion with friends, artists and managers about signing to major labels and higher aspirations. My response and argument has always been, stay independent or on the indie label that has signed you. Your growth, acceptance and skill will expand the way the spiritual powers want it to expand.

Now after my big soliloquy, we have a group that so far has remained independent and their skill continues to grow--the Danny Fox Trio. With their second album, Wide Eyed, they continue on the rich textures and bold composition of their debut but broaden the adventure with a little more urgency and in some case fun.

"All Tolled" and "Drone." illustrate a huge leap in confidence and musicianship from the trio. Melodic pacing and subtle yet bold upfront melodies radiate from these pieces. Fox has a strong hand on the keys but with "All Tolled" Voorst shows impressive plucking indeed. "Drone" shoots out of the gate brilliantly with Fox on a rolling set of notes. Goldman is equal to the pacing and gives a solid foil in unison. This while Voorst comes riding in heavy on the bassline which carries the piece through till Fox and Voorst rejoin providing jubilant finish.

"Funhouse Memory" is funky but with a number incongruent chord changes and notes. It's fun with demented intentions. Moving in various directions that felt The Meters grooving with Friedrich Gulda. "Tumble Quiet" concludes this beautiful session in stately fashion. While the notes are bold and intricate; the piece is well grounded and calming place the listener at the edge of a long journey.

Wide Eyed is the Danny Fox Trio moving from strength to strength. A record of extremely high quality in both composition and performance. If it were on a major label you might have known about it already. But it might not have the freedom and buoyant expressiveness that comes with being on your own and letting the music come to you as you go. Wide Eyed, is a record that you will come back to time and again. And it is definitely one of my albums of the year. Highly Recommended.

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