Some music shouts to gain attention, some whispers in your ear. Listening to Anat Fort’s 20-year-old trio is like being privy to an erudite conversation between intimates. Nothing extraneous is said: every note is pertinent to the subject at hand, those subjects being nine of Fort’s compositions, improvised upon by her (piano), Gary Wang (bass) and Roland Schneider (drums). The beauty of such melodies as Free goes hand in hand with Fort’s tender touch.
If some pianists (quite rightly) view the keyboard as a percussion instrument, Fort is more inclined to emphasise its stringed dimension, with attack less important than seamless transitions between notes, each skillfully and intuitively shaped to maximize expressiveness, without descending into histrionics. Simplicity is a watchword, emphasising this trio’s collective artistic sophistication. Schneider has a rare instinct for inserting unexpected rests that shine a pin-spot on the ensuing note. Like Paul Motian and Charlie Haden, he and Wang can make the rhythmic underpinnings as abstract or groovy as the music demands, and when Fort, alone at the piano, plays Part Solo, she’ll break your heart.