If the title of this disc seems a trifle New Agey, then open it up and consider the contrast between the shot of the sunflower and the quote laid over it: "Grief is the price we pay for love". Next scan the title of the opening cut, Demise, taken from Chopin's Prelude Op. 28, #4. Not quite so cheery as all that, eh? But Yellow Petals isn't a Mahlerian jazz dirge at all, rather it overflows with paced intelligence as a piano-driven atmosphere of reflection and disciplined energies emerges, not to mention a surprising percentage of abstraction and pointillism (check out Silver). Jon Di Fiore is a drummer but one of those traps-artists who also writes, and I'm always surprised by percussionist writers. Not sure why I should be, but I think it's that relatively narrow bandwidth of the arrayed instrument's pitch that prompts the notion they wouldn't be composers. This disc goes a long way to dispel the prejudice.
Thank God Di Fiore chose to pen staves for trio format because, though keyboardist Billy Test is the undeniable foreground, both bassist Adrian Moring and Di Fiore get plenty of room to spread their elbows and go to it. This is especially important in the chaotic passage of the elongated Live for Tomorrow, Forget Today, my favorite cut (along with Silver), where everything breaks down completely, clearing the way for a drum solo defining the groundwork for Moring and Test to re-enter upon, establishing norms once more. Shotgun House succeeds it, written on reflections upon the low-income architecture of New Orleans, Moring early sketching out the bleaker aspects of the milieu. As the CD's promo lit rightly claims, it's "sometimes difficult to know when the composed sections end and improvisation takes over" here because the more outré passages had to have been scripted in order to so suddenly tilt the environment, but at what point and how far?; that is: where do the directions on paper cease and the brainworks jump in beyond that? Ahhhhhhh, but that's part of the game of deep listening, y'all, and, to paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, the game is most definitely afoot here.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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