Simon Nabatov Trio

COMPOSERS: Simon Nabatov Trio
LABELS: Hatology
WORKS: Sneak Preview
PERFORMER: Simon Nabatov (p), Mark Helias (b), Tom Rainey (d)
A training at the Moscow Conservatory, a decade spent living in New York and his current residence in Cologne have all, the pianist himself claims, left their mark on Simon Nabatov’s style. To his Russian upbringing and musical education he attributes not only the ‘basic techniques and structures of classical playing’, but also ‘the often dramatic character and strong dynamic contrasts’ of his music, and to his time in New York he traces the freedom in his approach that he is now able to use ‘in a single-minded and organised manner which is rather European’. His trio has been together – albeit woefully under-recorded – since 1992, and specialises in fiercely interactive, rhythmically adventurous music, restlessly inventive yet imbued with a thorough knowledge of jazz history. This album’s opener ‘For Steve’, for instance, nods to Paris-based saxophonist Steve Lacy and his predilection for Thelonious Monk tunes; ‘The Lake’, inspired by childhood experiences in Estonia, slowly unfolds into compelling lyricism; other Nabatov compositions draw on everything from free jazz to torrential yet strictly controlled post-bop, not to mention stride, blues and many other aspects of the tradition. In Mark Helias and Tom Rainey, Nabatov has found an appropriately flexible rhythm section, capable both of settling into a groove without overemphasis and of following their leader in his frequent excursions into tempestuously imaginative improvisation. A superb trio that cries out for wider recognition. Chris Parker