Few albums contains such diverse music from a piano/bass/ drums trio. But then this diversity is partly a reflection of the players involved. Leo Genovese, the brilliant Argentinean pianist, thinks wildly different sorts of thoughts when composing and playing, from the tightest song formats to the loosest blowing vehicles, and all points in between in terms of the harmonic and rhythmic conceptions. Esperanza Spalding is simply a major creative force. Here she is primarily playing double bass, although her extraordinary talents as a singer are also exploited by Genovese’s material. And the third member is none other than Jack DeJohnette, arguably the preeminent living drummer, and certainly one who can go wherever Genovese’s material demands, while really digging deep into the music and drawing astoundingly fresh ideas out of himself.
It is a trio that can sound as blithe as a four-year-old’s birthday party on Chacarera Y Mas, where Spalding singing Ica Novo’s lyric with such artlessness that it is almost confronting even as it charms. The blowing section is wide open, with DeJohnette’s brushes sounding like rain pattering on the song’s roof. Then Cosmic Church takes off on a crunching backbeat that unwinds into some free-time cosmic introspection, and Lamento Del Limonero gradually gathers a head of steam until it is absolutely flying while dense with three-way interaction. This is replicated on the urgent swing of Diableros, which carries vague echoes of McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones in the classic Coltrane quartet, with all the energy that implies further compounded by Spalding’s effervescent bass. Spalding sings again on the enigmatic Vidalita, and then lets her voice rear up like Abbey Lincoln’s on the startling Ethiopian Blues.