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Album Review

The Upper Left Trio is a tight piano-bass-drums outfit whose interplay borders on the intuitive at times. Pianist Clay Giberson, bassist Jeff Leonard, and drummer Charlie Doggett engage in the type of musical conversations that Bill Evans made famous in the 1960s even though they do not emulate Evans too closely. Their treatments of the group originals (the only standards are "The "In" Crowd" and Neil Young's "Don't Let It Bring You Down") are thoughtful, introspective and relaxed even when played at faster tempos. Most memorable from the new material is the touching "As Afternoon Falls," but the Upper Left Trio are more notable for their subtle improvising than for their songwriting. While Giberson is the first among equals, all three musicians contribute to the group's development and direction within each song, often seeming to breathe as one, resulting in quietly surprising music.

Three, Upper Left Trio
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