Personnel: Benjamin Taubkin (piano); Joatan Nascimento (trumpet, flugelhorn); Zeca Assumpçao (acoustic bass); Sérgio Reze (drums).
Audio Mixer: Alberto Rannelucci.
Liner Note Author: Benjamin Taubkin.
Recording information: Estudio Sala Viva.
Photographer: Lilia Nemes.
Translator: Carol Morandini.
The new album from pianist Benjamin Taubkin's trio plus trumpeter Joatan Nascimento pitches itself somewhere between invitation and challenge. There's plenty to stretch the ear and the mind, but also enough heartbreakingly lovely melodies to capture the listener's love. Recorded live, the sonic clarity is astonishing, especially on the piano, where you can almost hear each key depressed. Despite Taubkin's base in Brazil, the music isn't Brazilian, with the exception of the final cut, a take on "Solace," co-written by two greats, Baden Powell and Vinícius de Moraes. But this quartet puts its own stamp on everything, often diving into the unexpected, like Taubkin's delightfully minimalist solo on "Pearls" or Sérgio Reze's delirious percussion on "Baianinho." Nascimento's trumpet and flügelhorn are perfect foils for the piano, whether they're playing in unison or sparking off each other. However, the centerpiece here has to be "The Sabiá Flew," which also features Fernando Sardo "playing amazing instruments built by himself." It's a glorious piece of work, building from a dreamlike beginning into a nautical mode, with quotes from "A Life on the Ocean Wave" and "Drunken Sailor" as it pitches and rolls between sections. Since dialogue is the all-important feature here, it's no surprise that this is a live recording, and all the better for it. Trio + 1 releases its joys slowly, but it's well worth the time and the journey. ~ Chris Nickson