Album Review: Gabriel Latchin Trio – The Moon and I

Gabriel Latchin Trio

The Moon and I

(Alys Jazz AJ 1502)

This nourishing slice of well confected bop traditionalism starts and ends with that most traditional trope, a Rhythm Changes workout – Arthur Go has a crisply constructed head, combining block chords with bluesy inflections with some of the poise of Hank Jones and the rhythmic snap of Wynton Kelly – everything is present and correct in the solo exploration, in which echoes of a host of bop masters are detectable, while Dario Di Lecce and Josh Morrison provide a suitably springy trampoline of swing for Latchin to bounce off. Latchin has chosen a clearly defined set of artistic parameters; his approach favours the more restrained, neatly streamlined school of Sonny Clark, Tommy Flanagan or Walter Bishop, like a distilled version of Bud Powell, over the more florid extravagances of Phineas Newborn or Oscar Peterson or the impressionistic cabaret of Ahmad Jamal, and his historical frame of reference stops well before the expansive chromaticism of Hancock or Corea, or even the furious pentatonics of Tyner. What he offers are a series of immaculate miniatures – Peek A Bu recalls Bobby Timmons with his eponymous employer and swings appropriately, Brigi My Dear is an airy waltz that has a flavour of Bill Evans and demonstrates Latchin’s sensitive touch, Baubles Bangles And Beads is taken at a fast clip with an ingenious arrangement that recalls the under-recognised Victor Feldman trio and showcases a fast and accurate right hand. Só Danço Samba benefits from having its natural restraint restored; Zambia by Lee Morgan pushes the furthest forward from the mainstream with hints of Cedar Walton; Pippy’s Delight bookends the album with another Rhythm Changes variant, with space for some flourishes from Di Lecce and Morrison. Conception and execution are faultless throughout and this album should reinforce Mr Latchin’s standing with fans of the mainstream.

 

Eddie Myer

Gabriel Latchin, piano; Dario Di Lecce, bass; Josh Morrison, drums.