Into the Blue
'Into The Blue, immediately casts a hazy spell which makes you think that if they listened to jazz in heaven, this would probably be it.' Zoe Street Fly Global Music Culture 'If a better guitar album has been released this year it would be a miracle. 'This was the album PD3 were meant to record, like Floyd's Dark Side Of the Moon or Miles Davies' Kind Of Blue ultimately listenable without a single bad track.' Gareth Foreman The Guardian (London South) ----------- Review of Into the Blue By Paul Donnelly ejazznews.com November 2004 When I first heard this trio a year or so ago I was very pleasantly surprised at the variety of approaches they used. They were not simply another jazz guitar trio but fused some rock and other influences into their style. And this CD continues some of the work that was started on 'Street Scene', the previous release, though this time there are covers of standards and other tunes as well as original material. One of the first guitarists to really open my ears was, of course, Hendrix, particularly when he played 'Purple Haze' and PD3 have chosen to feature his beautiful 'Little Wing' among the eclectic mixture. The guitar sound is crystal clear with a bluesy edge and focuses on the lyrical aspect of the late pioneer's work; a side that is too frequently ignored. Tribute is paid to another idiosyncratic composer and performer, Thelonious Monk, whose 'Straight No Chaser' bears all the hallmarks of his unique style, this time filtered through some Hendrix-esque wah wah guitar voicings. It is taken at a relaxed but funky pace with crisp drumming from Tim Bruce and some echo effects from the guitar. A fine example of how to use rhythm and space tellingly and refresh an old favourite in the process. Another perennial favourite, 'Autumn Leaves' is given a suitably mellow workout, Downes elegantly embellishing the melody in the introduction before raising the tempo and reeling off cascades of polished notes. He knows when to apply rapid runs and when to simply employ the merest nuance, just as bassist Andy Coe does as he takes his eloquent solo. Among the original pieces, 'Northern Lights', written by Downes, finds the guitarist fluctuating between gentle arpeggios and more muscular riffing as Coe draws a warm solo from the double bass. This is one of those tracks that highlights the rockier facets of the trio's work. Another original, the title track, is a superb example of how the trio work together with guitar that is somewhat redolent of Metheny, driven by economical percussion and sturdy bass. I have to mention the delicacy of Downes' acoustic playing on 'Fragile' where he combines classical overtones with a Latin flavour. Guest bassist, Phil Berry, also contributes a solo that is concise and melodic. This is an album that shows the trio developing and consolidating their sound while expanding the sources from which they draw material and it is one that I would recommend highly.