It’s pretty amazing how such an unassuming piano trio album works so well. In their self-titled album from earlier this year, the trio known as ARK of pianist Carlos Homs, bassist Karl McComas-Reichl, and drummer Colin Stranahan have put together twelve very neat, compact songs that traverse the range of the modern jazz genre in all the ways an acoustic piano trio will go.
In some degrees, it’s a similar take to the kind of angular music of modern jazz trios, like on “Goodly Mountain” or “Bell”, where the melodies seem to emerge from a fog, but there’s enough shape present for the songs to still be enjoyable to hear. In others, the groove of the matter is front and center. “Barfight” could be a better album opener. Sometimes, both these veins happen simultaneously– “Broken Impulse” is exactly an angular groove, almost completely typifying its title as the song presses forward assuredly while still being just a touch off.
The album is filled with so much to love because it’s doing so much that’s just so loveable. Stranahan is always a delight to hear on drums, but this group with Homs and McComas-Reichl is so great that one would look forward to seeing what these three will continue to do down the line. In the meantime, we have ARK, and it’s certainly a great album to rattle around for quite some time.
Carlos Homs (piano)
Karl McComas-Reichl (bass)
Colin Stranahan (drums)
All members of ARK compose the music.
Other credits include Elmo Hope who wrote ‘Barfly’ which ‘Barfight’ is based upon and Maurice Ravel whose melodies inspired ‘Dangling Plains’.
Nextbop Editor-in-Chief Anthony Dean-Harris hosts the modern jazz radio show, The Line-Up, Fridays at 9pm CST on 91.7 FM KRTU San Antonio and is also a contributing writer to DownBeat Magazine and the San Antonio Current.