Editors' pick

Pilc Moutin Hoenig

Jazz
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Pilc Moutin Hoenig photo
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Editorial Review

PILC MOUTIN HOENIG
Album review: "Threedom"

For a jazz piano trio, the high-register melodies of the keyboard usually dominate the bass and drums, especially if the pianist is Jean-Michel Pilc, who proved his dexterity and inventiveness earlier this year on his superb solo-piano album, "Essential." But the Pilc Moutin Hoenig trio achieves the democratic balance implied by its name and by the title of its terrific new album, "Threedom." French bassist Francois Moutin and American drummer Ari Hoenig generate an unusual amount high-register melody themselves, and Pilc leaves enough open space in his playing to let his rhythm section shine through.

The three began playing as the Jean-Michel Pilc Trio in 1995, but over the years Moutin and Hoenig have asserted a more equal role. When they reunited in March for their first recording session in eight years, they tackled nine standards (by Ellington, Gershwin and others) and created nine originals through group improvisation. The standards are handled so loosely and the improvisations so compositionally that it's hard to tell one from the other.

On the trio's version of "Think of One," Hoenig introduces Thelonious Monk's arresting melody on his tom-tom drums;
Pilc and Moutin respond with abstracted versions of the same theme. On the album's title track, the improvisation is given a similarly jabbing theme by Moutin's bass;
his partners reply with their own jaunty phrases.

--Geoffrey Himes, Oct. 14, 2011