Dance of the Three Legged Elephants

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Signum
WORKS: Various
PERFORMER: Matthew Barley (cello), Julian Joseph (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: SIGCD 171

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Latin-blues-chamber-avant-improv-salon-tango? Obviously a jazz disc, then. This kind of potpourri approach to generic convention usually fails because few musicians have a real grasp of a sufficiently wide range of musical ideas.
 
But here’s Barley and Joseph, two exceptions who prove the rule. This set of originals, improvisations and takes on pieces by everyone from Jobim to Ravel are informed, inventive and defy all predictions as to what’s coming next.
 
The title track, evolving from a wonky blues riff into a kind of evocation Steve Reich jamming with McCoy Tyner at the Penguin Cafe, is outstanding.
 
I’ve knocked off a star because the cello is perhaps a little harsher and the piano a little more distant than suits my sonic taste, but it’s no more than that. Roger Thomas