You don’t get many releases by guitar trios, the only one that sticks in my mind is Friday Night in San Francisco. This trio has been performing and recording together since 2005 but this is their first outing on ECM, and the high recording standard brings out the full emotional range of their repertoire. Towner from the US will be known to ECM enthusiasts while Muthspiel from Austria has a reputation for his classical and jazz work, Grigoryan is of Kazakh origin but lives and works in Australia, where he is a highly respected classical player.
This is not a battle of the egos, but a well crafted group performance with some very fine compositions. In the ECM ‘style’, the material is more ‘slow burn’ than ‘reach out and grab you’ but that is no bad thing and suggests a potential for longevity that many miss. Tonal variety is provided by Muthspiel’s electric instrument choice; this makes for a rare combination of acoustic and amplified instruments, arranged so that sound rather than the level differentiates. I’ve been listening to this for a couple of months and keep hearing more. There’s something of the Bill Evans about this trio; nothing jumps out but the rhythms and motifs draw you in. It’s a grower no doubt.