BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Jazz musicians in the 21st century have over 100 years of work to use for inspiration, education and/or theft – long gone for the most part, are the days when an instrumentalist would be a disciple of just one mentor. Pianist Paul Giallorenzo is a good example. On Flow, his second album for the venerable Delmark label, the Chicago improviser pulls bits from a variety of keyboard titans, from Erroll Garner and Bud Powell to Dave Brubeck and Cecil Taylor, taking what he likes and blending it into his own streamlined approach.
Minimalist chords set up rippling melodic lines, as dissonance creeps in, then gleefully waltzes back out again. Bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer Mikel Patrick Avery play perfect support, keeping the groove going with little fuss, stepping out only at the most appropriate points. The back-to-back pairing of “Rolling” and “Interstice” shows off Gialllorenzo’s vision nicely, the relative melodicism of the former contrasting with the dissonance of the latter, though it’s to the leader’s credit that each song features elements of the other. The on-the-nose duo “Darkness” and “Lightness” also highlights Giallorenzo’s dual interest in lush melody and angular performance. The exploratory epic “Flipd Scrip,” meanwhile, brings a playfulness to the Trio’s aesthetic, and also give Abrams room for a lengthy arco solo.
None of this is to say, though, that Giallorenzo has a split personality. Far from it – his ability to mesh his various interests into an integrated whole makes the aptly-titled Flow a beautifully crafted showcase for a singular talent.
DOWNLOAD: “Interstice,” “Rolling,” “Darkness”