One of the traditional attractions of the pianoless jazz trio is the room it allows for harmonic and melodic inventiveness, absent a chording instrument. The Brian Groder Trio, a trio of trumpet/flugelhorn, double bass, and drums, is no traditional jazz trio, but it does take advantage of the format in ways that both recall and go beyond the harmonic freedom of other pianoless trios.
Luminous Arcs is the third release for the group, which in addition to Groder includes double bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen. Their experience together tells, as the tightly integrated playing on display on all eleven tracks gives evidence of a well-developed chemistry. Groder and Bisio work particularly well together and provide fine contrapuntal playing on Spanglin, on the free-fugue introduction to the moody ballad Until Eyes Met, and throughout Smoored. On Bonds of Now, a duet for trumpet and drums, Rosen’s relentless, free-pulse drumming coils tautly around Groder’s line until Groder drops out to let Rosen finish alone. Bisio gets a brief solo piece with Pirr, which balances on strummed chords and tart harmonies.
Adding to the album’s audio pleasure is the verbal pleasure of the vivid imagery and wryly kaleidoscopic observations of poet Randee Silv’s Wordslabs, which serve as an appropriate liner note to this ultimately poetic music.