Danny Fox Trio, The One Constant

Danny Fox Trio / The One Constant  

Songlines, 2011

Members (R to L): Danny Fox (piano), Chris van Voorst van Beest (bass), Max Goldman (drums)

After about three years in the woodshed, New York’s Danny Fox Trio has officially put out their debut album entitled The One Constant. Released on Songlines, a Canadian label catering to a range of artists from Theo Bleckmann to Bill Frisell. Pianist, bandleader Danny Fox delivers twisting, corky and poignant melodies atop developed, well-constructed arrangements. But it’s the synergetic moments of improvisation that seep their way into The One Constant that evoke a familiar, but by no means redundant, blend of chamber classical music and modern jazz.

Fox’s classical roots can be credited to John Kamitsuka (pupil of Sophia Rosoff who taught Fred Herche, Barry Harris, Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus). The music on The One Constant operates similarly to The Bad Plus. Danny Fox makes a compositional decision to use well-rehearsed skeletal pieces rather than tunes with heads. Fox even attended some of Iverson’s free (informal) classes for young pianists. Fox stated that he feels a natural spill effect of his classical practice into his improvisation. “Practicing classical repertoire opens my ears up to a wide range of rhythmic and harmonic possibilities that I can apply in my improvisation and composition.  When you practice a Beethoven sonata for example, you have to internalize lots of challenging rhythms”. Fox encourages jazz players to keep an open ear towards studying a rich variety of music and cites Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite as influential on behalf of its “classical signification, African rhythms, Middle Eastern scales, rock beats, etc.”

An example of how the trio delivered from their record release show at Littlefield in Brooklyn. June 21st, 2011:

 

Fox is supported by Chris van Voorst van Beest on bass; a musician who’s background lays not only in jazz but rock, afro-beat, bluegrass, and theater pit bands. He has shared the stage with Joe Lovano, Clack Terry and Chris Potter. Drummer Max Goldman studied with Gerald Cleaver and Kenny Washington but now performs in a number of projects from electronica to backing singer-songwriters.  On “The Icebox” Max flexes his drum-and-bass chops below Fox’s light, (dare I say funky) ostinato piano jabs. It’s form, like many others on the record, will carry the listener seamlessly around tonal centers, time signatures and grooves.  Fox gives his nod to J.S. Bach with the fugal intro of “Roquette” but the music fades as Goldman shifts intoThe One Constant an unaccompanied solo that followed by another jagged groove the group achieves so beautifully. The One Constant is a “chamber jazz” record in that it melds “classical” intuition fostered by pedagogy and  jazz improvisation supported by interactive arrangements. The Danny Fox trio has arrived…swinging their own pulse.

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