Peter Erskine, Nguyên Lê, Michel Benita -][- ELB -[ACT Music, 2001]
The previous review summed it up well. But I can’t help chiming in. This is a democratic trio, but Le is certainly the attention getter. His style is so facile that I’m afraid he’ll be seen as constantly in some one else’s foot steps. To me he comes in some where between Frisell and Scofield (he can dial up that early Scofield tone with frightening ease). But that would be an unfair assessment. He has integrated much that has gone before him and made it his own. It’s beautiful guitar work..
But this is not just the guitar and when you look past Le you realize why Erskine is the titular headliner. The drummer’s vast experience and his restrained power give this music its depth and drive.
I wish I knew more about Benita. There is no room to hide in a trio. The bass has to stand up and be heard and Benita is doing some wonderful work here. Never overplaying, but bringing more force to the double bass than I’ve heard in quite a while without sacrificing that instrument’s grace and nuance.
This will probably be filed in the jazz rack for lack of a better location. The roots are somewhere between fusion, prog rock and late 20th century jazz. Hendrix influence, yes. Le is a unique voice that brings Terje Rypdal to mind. Taken as a group there is a tap root back to power trios like John Abercrombie’s Gateway (though Le and JA are miles apart)both in style, interplay and the level of musicianship. But these guys refine that tradition. Fair to say it represents a good step forward. —THX1138b | Amazon.com
..:: Source: Amazon.com ::..