Feb 6 2017
When pianist Colin Vallon syncs up with a melodic inspiration, the results are massively absorbing. His builds of intensity possess a detached urgency, not unlike watching a storm approach slowly from out across the horizon. There are the distant strikes of lightning, the susurrant grumbles of thunder, the refracted light shading the sky in pinks and reds and oranges and every imaginable shade of blue. There should be a sense of danger… this is a storm approaching, after all. But the beauty is so massive that a heavy calm settles in, an odd serenity of viewing chaos from a peaceful spot.
This is the kind of scene Vallon is able to conjure up. On his newest release Danse, he gets back to it. Joined by his regular collaborators, bassist Patrice Moret and Julian Sartorius, the trio transforms melodic abstracts into vivid tonal scenes. Tracks like “Smile” and “Tsunami” have an insistent tempo that takes the melody along for the ride; they lay the groundwork for tension. “Tinguely,” “Oort” and title-track “Danse” fall into the same family, with staggered cadences and the same unsteady melody; they exploit the tension to develop personality. “Kid,” “Reste” and “Morn” bring a simple, calm beauty, and they give shape to the tension and definition to the personality. And then there’s the album’s stand-out track “L’onde,” which is all three qualities united into one gorgeous, fascinating expression.
This is Vallon’s third recording with ECM Records, and it’s arguably one of the very most successful pairings of artist and label that ECM has effected over the last ten years. Vallon’s first album, Rruga, was one of the best things to come out in 2011. Danse is a strong statement to begin 2017.
Your album personnel: Colin Vallon (piano), Patrice Moret (double bass) and Julian Sartorius (drums).
Released on ECM Records.
Listen to an album track on the ECM Records site.
Music from Bern, Switzerland.
Available at: Amazon