Veteran bassist/composer Mario Pavone‘s Trio Arc (Playscape Recordings), the first of his two well-received releases of the year, is one of only 18 recordings to receive four and a half stars in DownBeat in 2008. The magazine lists all the CDs to which its reviewers awarded four or more stars in the Best CDs of 2008 feature in the January 2009 issue, on newsstands now.
Trio Arc, featuring the legendary pianist Paul Bley and frequent collaborator Matt Wilson on drums, brings Pavone’s career full circle on a number of fronts. It marks the first collaboration between Pavone and Bley in 35 years, and its release was timed to mark the 40th anniversary of Pavone’s recorded debut on Bley’s 1968 LP, Canada (Radio Canada).
In addition to reconnecting with Bley, this is the first completely improvised recording under Pavone’s leadership, referencing the freely improvised music he played early in his career rather than the trademark “upside-down” compositions he has cultivated exclusively for the past decade. It’s also his first trio recording since 1999’s Remembering Thomas (Knitting Factory), marking his long-awaited return to the format that first gained him widespread recognition on recordings with Thomas Chapin (1990-97).
In his review in the November 2008 issue, Shaun Brady wrote, “There’s a sense that the tracks on Trio Arc are not so much seven discrete recordings but part of a continuum that is tuned into from time to time, snapshots representing facets of a greater whole…unlike many free-form dates, there’s no time wasted on searching for common ground or playing tug-of-war between divergent visions. Each of the six trio pieces (the disc ends with a brief solo performance by Bley) is concise and focused.”