Hush: Nikki Iles • Rufus Reid • Jeff Williams
For some while, many commentators (including me) have enthused about post-EST/Bad Plus piano trios and the apparent resurgence of the format. Sometimes, in the cold small hours, I worry that this somewhat incontinent enthusiasm is ever-so-slightly motivated by a defeatist fear that the classic piano trio is, if not dead, a museum piece. Hush dispels that nightmare.
This trio may work in stylistic areas developed a half-century ago (Iles readily admits to being still inspired by Bill Evans) but every track sparkles with fresh ideas, true commitment and a sense of immediacy. Three lovely Iles originals, some standards and a couple of lesser-known (to me, anyway) pieces are held up to the light, every facet displayed, examined, and imaginatively re-set. The trio’s playing is beautiful, elegant and subtle, thoughtful yet expressive and heartfelt. I don’t doubt that Evans would have been proud to have made this album himself.