COMPOSERS: Peter Erskine
ALBUM TITLE: Peter Erskine Trio
WORKS: As It Was
PERFORMER: Peter Erskine (drums), John Taylor (piano), Palle Danielsson (double bass)
CATALOGUE NO: 475 5832
With its elegantly minimalist packaging and astute programming, ECM’s Old and New Masters Series continues to develop into a must-have archive of classic reissues that comes closer than anything to reviving the collecting habit in this supposedly post-polycarbonate, downloadable age. Like certain other examples, this box set charts the evolution of a fixed group rather than the leader-plus-variables approach, which is interesting in itself. The piano trio has long been one of the greatest paradoxes in jazz, being both a vehicle for some hugely significant music and an exhausted workhorse to be burdened with pro-forma compositional gestures, so to hear these musicians creatively re-thinking such a group’s modus operandi over the course of these increasingly liberated (and liberating) 1990s albums is refreshing even now. Although the trio was brought together by Erskine, these sonically faultless recordings also serve as a testament to the unique pianism of the late John Taylor.