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  • VIA
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on 9 May 2011
This is the third album from the Storms/Nocturnes trio. Once again superb performances from Garland, Keezer and Locke playing their own compositions. More nocturnes than storms, this recording lacks the heavier material found on their first album together but it's another example of the high standard of musicianship that these three bring to their playing. The line-up of saxes/clarinet, piano and vibes is once again employed to create a distinctive and unique sound. Contemporary Jazz as its best.
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on 29 March 2011
In VIA, the listener is taken on a journey through magical places. It is a journey which starts in a peaceful garden in San Diego, takes in the view from a hilltop in rural Vermont, lingers in olive groves in Italy, finds idyllic spots in England's Lake District, and ends up enjoying the gently lapping waters of the Pacific on a beach in Miramar, California.

Based in London, New York and San Diego, it's understandable that Tim Garland, Joe Locke and Geoffrey Keezer have travel on their minds when they get together. With VIA, they are acknowledging places which had stirred their muse and served as inspiration. The word "VIA" - meaning "by way of" - implies a passing through, a travelling through and the anticipation and excitement of the journey ahead.
Nine compositions, three by each member of the trio, evoke memories of places with special personal significance or fascination. These stopping-off points in the memory are replete with strong personal associations for each of the players. The deeply personal then becomes enriched through the interaction of three friends.

VIA witnesses a deepening of the artists' collaboration. All three are universally acclaimed and respected masters on their instruments, and bring their different styles and backgrounds together to create music which can be spacious or immensely complex, delicate but often approaching orchestral depth, and collectively find their way into a new mood or feel before the listener knows they have left the old one. Their spontaneous interaction, the dovetailing, the assertion of contrasting yet mutually supportive roles are all taken to a new level on this CD.
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on 23 October 2012
A trio of reeds, piano and vibes isn't the likeliest line-up, but here it results in airy, spacious music that amounts to chamber jazz. There are probably those who'd consider the ECM label to be this music's natural home, but by contrast with some of that label's output this programme stays firmly on the right side of soporific.

`Her Sanctuary' is pianist Keezer's composition and it's nothing short of lovely in its autumnal shades, realised in no small measure by Garland on bass clarinet; he tacks closer to the John Surman model than the Eric Dolphy, but in saying that he's still the old chestnut that is his own man, coaxing an elegantly melancholic tone out of the unwieldy horn.

`Daly Avenue' is also by Keezer. By contrast with the piece discussed above it's rhythmically more invigorated and almost boppish. Its more forthright air is still shot through with a kind of woozy elegance that a lot of musicians aim for but only succeed in missing. Locke falls right in with the mood and in so doing shows how little he owes the likes of Bobby Hutcherson. Garland on soprano sax has a surprising number of precedents he could be compared to if he wasn't so wilful, although it might at a stretch be said that he very occasionally hints at Steve Lacy's inscrutability.

`Snowfall in Central Park' is downright pretty. Keezer's descending figure serves as the piece's heart, although it's what's going on around it that captivates the ear. In his solo Keezer evokes the title for anyone with a modicum of imagination. Given the chamber jazz label it's surprising how little music that falls under it evokes anything other than musicians treading carefully; it's a tribute to this trio that they avoid that with such ease.

It all makes, this reviewer would argue, for chamber jazz for people who don't really like chamber jazz. The combination of lyricism and muscle is certainly rarely so finely struck.
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