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...the Sun. I never realised before. The Sun. It's just a mask, too. And the face behind it... It's beautiful. It's...
on 24 March 2010
-- Neil Gaiman, "Façade"
If you listen to the rendition of "Autumn Leaves" on the standards trio's At the Blue Note box set, you hear the group giving a more restless and energetic performance of the song than usual, that suddenly kicks into a meditative groove in a manner that feels like the façade of the song has been thrown off, revealing some hot universal energy that was inside, or behind it all along.
It appears as though the music featured on this record is what the standards trio sometimes spontaneously launch into at their concerts of jazz standards. The amazing thing with this record is that, while it consists of extracts from four concerts recorded days apart, it feels like one continuous piece of music, as though the concerts are a process of passing through into a higher state, universal and changeless. Recently I have been particularly drawn to the final track, "Ecstasy", as it represents the culmination of the whole process, a final way station on the road towards silence, in which the energies of the three jazz musicians at their most passionate coalesce into a shimmering, convulsing wall of noise.
As noted at the beginning of this review, there have been several other recordings of the meditative music heard here, but none have the impact of this record because, ironically as the pieces are taken out of their context as part of separate concerts of standards, their power is in standing together as a continuous canon.