Feb 7 2014
There is a nonchalance to the music of the trio Rooms that is especially appealing. Their self-titled debut album Rooms sounds carefully constructed with a certain poetry in mind… of repeated phrasings juxtaposed with scattered rhythms, and sounding both off-the-cuff and thoughtfully planned, in a way that is both genuine and charming.
Your album personnel: Matt Carroll (drums), Dan Pierson (piano, keyboards), and Charlie Kirchen (bass).
The album’s character is best symbolized by its opening two tracks, “Toad” and “Bricks.” On the former, Dan Pierson makes his mark on keys, sometimes with casual expressions and sometimes with offhand repetition, and often accentuated with a dramatic flourish… an effect accentuated with a crash of cymbals from drummer Matt Carroll that barely rise above a whisper. The latter track “Bricks” is benefited by brief statements of melody at key moments, keeping a loose song tight at the seams.
“Bloomington” and “Middle Song” provide a nice contrast. The first highlighted by little missives tossed about, conversational asides that cross paths repeatedly and make a singular dialog in aggregation. The interlude of “Middle Song,” however, stays close to song center by attaching itself to a cheerfully dancing melody.
“Silence” is the first album track to gather into a definitive form… it just happens to alter that form several times throughout its course. On drums, Carroll shifts from a staggered gait to a driven repetition. Pierson hits some nice melodic passages on piano, lighting a fire kindled with an informal austerity. Kirchen’s bass is the overarching constant to this track, shepherding the tune from the depths of the shadows, the soft pulsing footfalls of his bass establishing a rhythmic foundation that piano and drums proceed to tinker with. It’s the most vibrant of all the album tracks.
The odd elegance of “C Ballad” incites a sense of formal expression delivered with a confident ease and nonchalance, whereas “Glendalough” lays out sufficiently to make its predecessor appear statuesque.
“Track 12” develops a bit of a groove, building up to a point when Carroll’s drums surge up and over the melody. And then, like a wave crashing the shore, the song glides over the sand, stretching out further and further until it quietly disappears into the spaces between grains of sand.
To end the album, the trio flexes its muscles a bit. “Just Wild” opens with Kirchen’s bass arco, then enters a free association that sounds more intentional than anything previous… the trio establishing its presence upon the song with a directness to take the album out strong.
Really, just a charming album and very easy to like.
The album is Self-Produced.
Jazz from the Chicago scene.