Saturday, January 1, 2011

Best Albums Of 2010: Bobby Avey

JazzWrap revisits our favourite albums of 2010.

Bobby Avey (piano)
A New Face (JayDell Records)

Thomson Kneeland (bass)
Jordan Pearlson (drums)
David Liebman (sax)

This year I spent a lot more time discovering new artists than any other time in my life of music. It has been fantastic. One of those little discoveries was Bobby Avey and his fantastic debut, A New Face (JayDell Records). This was an album that I automatically got switched on to with the first listen. While Avey isn't a complete debutant (he has worked with Dave Liebman in the past) his debut does sound a bell that there is a new voice thinking creatively and willing to take chances.

A New Face opens with "Late November" a multi-layered piece driven by Avey's delicate improvising at the piano and countered by some stellar interplay from Pearlson and Kneeland. The trio have been together for over five years so the understanding of each members movements is expected but it is still impressive to capture it in one session throughout the entirety of the recording.

The group are joined by longtime collaborator, David Liebman for four numbers including the title track "New Face" and "Time Unfolding". Liebman's playing is exquisite and fierce throughout and probably one of the best sessions I've heard him perform. The two show a unique bond on the duet "Influence", a lovely ballad that flows effortlessly into a battle of interplay resulting in a pleasant hypnotic denouement. A really beautiful piece that is probably my favourite track on the album.

A New Face closes with "Time Unfolding", a blistering quartet piece which Liebman leads the trio through a series of crisp, distinct and rolling rhythms that allow each member to stretch their abilities. Avey's movements are precise and mature--exactly what you expect from young and creative new comer. A New Face is an excellent debut that I couldn't stop listening to throughout the year. I keep thinking to myself "this album can't be that perfect"--but you know what--it's that good. One of my favourite discoveries of 2010.

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