Tyson Naylor Trio's Kosmonauten offers a fresh, lively vision
It’s rare for a record to display both a singular compositional vision and lively collective interplay, but the Tyson Naylor Trio’s debut offers just that—along with a fresh take on the blues and a couple of guest appearances by clarinetist François Houle, who fits right in.
Naylor’s sensibility is essentially bittersweet, occasionally showing touches of his work in the indie-rock world with songwriter Dan Mangan, among others. “Allee Der Kosmonauten”, a reference to his three years in Berlin, almost begs for lyrics; given the right poet, it could become a modern standard. “Adrift” begins with an “outside” touch thanks to some inside-the-piano clattering but soon switches into a lonesome melodica melody; the aforementioned blues number, “Book It”, oscillates between choogling Otis Spann authenticity and enigmatic, Thelonious Monk–inspired modulations. Naylor’s grasp of various keyboard idioms is immense, but he’s rarely showy, and he’s subsumed his influences into a personal style that’s especially impressive given his youth.
Bassist Russell Sholberg and drummer Skye Brooks play together in several different contexts beyond this trio, and their rangy and loose-limbed but deeply sympathetic rapport also helps the music cohere.
My only caveat is that I’m sure I’ve heard a big chunk of Naylor’s composition “PKP” somewhere else; he’s definitely quoting from Ornette Coleman’s “Dancing in Your Head”, and there’s a hint of Sonny Rollins as well. Still, if those are the names Naylor’s writing evokes, he’s doing a whole lot of things very right.
The Tyson Naylor Trio plays the Roundhouse Exhibition Hall at 2:30 and 3:40 p.m. on Saturday (June 30), as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.