For over 20 years, the trio of pianist Carla Bley, bassist Steve Swallow, and saxophonist Andy Sheppard have shared each other’s creative company. The group’s 2016 album, Andando el Tiempo, is a delicately passionate, classically influenced set. A follow-up to 2013’s equally compelling Trios, Andando el Tiempo is, surprisingly, only the third album from the group after their initial live 1995 album Songs with Legs. Whereas on Trios they delved into various Bley compositions from throughout her career, on Andando el Tiempo they focus on several more recently penned works. “Naked Bridges/Diving Bridges” brings to mind the impressionism of composer Claude Debussy. It’s fascinating to hear the trio move from the moody beginning of the song into the more breezy, straight-ahead mid-section where Swallow, playing fluidly on the upper end of his bass, evinces the lyricism of West Coast trumpeter Chet Baker. The West Coast vibe is also palpable on the ruminative, noir-ish “Saints Alive!” However, it’s the title track composition “Andando el Tiempo” that takes center stage on the album. With its three movements meant to represent three of the steps to addiction recovery, “Andando el Tiempo” (meaning “with the passing of time”) is a restrained, yet nuanced piece that balances the group’s knack for tempered chamber work and fluid, in-the-moment improvisation. Anchored at all times by Bley’s measured, atmospheric piano, Sheppard and Swallow take turns dancing in the spotlight. The final movement in particular, the Latin-tinged “Camino al Volver,” provides plenty of space for each member of the trio to twirl around each other in focused reverie. Ultimately, it’s that shared intensity, born out of the trio’s decades-long partnership, that makes Andando el Tiempo such an engaging listen.
Andando el Tiempo (C.Bley)
01. I. Sin Fin – 10:21
02. II. Potacion de Guaya – 9:49
03. III. Camino al Volver – 8:28
04. Saints Alive! (C.Bley) – 8:35
05. Naked Bridges/Diving Brides (C.Bley) – 10:06
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