Album Reviews

Benedikt Jahnel Trio

The Invariant

Artist:     Benedikt Jahnel Trio

Album:     The Invariant

Label:     ECM

Release Date:     02/17/17


You’d never conclude from the lyrical, pop fluidity that graces young pianist Benedikt Jahnel’s musical exaltations that he’s a Berlin mathematician who counts interacting particle systems within the realm of probability theory as his field of study. Or then again, maybe you would. For what is any music and the men and women who give themselves freely to it, but variants in the grand equation? Or invariants? Take your pick.

Along with bassist Antonio Miquel and drummer Owen Howard (the decade old trio that produced the expansive texturality that made their 2012 ECM debut Equilibrium a lyrical, song laden, pastoral listening experience) Jahnel’s oddly timed, organic swing and sense of melody empowers the dance in our/his heart even at ours/his darkest moments. The opening “Further Consequences” immediately draws you in, its centered interplay urging you to either hit replay or inspires you on to the next revelation. The Chick Corea like construct of “Part of the Game” with Jahnel and Howard bop, bop, popping along is a joyous romp. Whether Jahnel has ever visited Mono Lake in California’s Eastern Sierras or not, his ballad of the same name evokes the ancient winds and voices from the lake’s creation some 700,000 years ago.

Though the pianist creatively and readily admits to constantly revising the music by taking the music on the road for the trio to dig deeper into themselves then adjusting even more when the record light goes on, all of the music sounds seamless. Flowing from the same sure source

that connects us all to that grand equation.

—Mike Jurkovic

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