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François Carrier Trio+1 - Entrance 3

Jason Bivins, Cadence Magazine

What a treat to hear the great Stenson join Carrier’s probing trio at the Vancouver Jazz Festival on Entrance 3. It’s hard not to compare the bassist and drummer to Danielsson and Christensen I reckon, but each time I make this association it’s in the context of praise. First of all, this is a well-seasoned trio (even at the time of this recording, nearly a decade ago; with Coté’s big rubbery lines and Lambert’s latticework meshing perfectly with Carrier’s long lyrical sax layers and sudden explorations of densely packed lines. Stenson fits right in, delicate and muscular, harmonically dense and brilliantine spare, and his presence seems to catalyze the trio wonderfully. Carrier starts off the set with a gorgeous alto solo, probing and intervallic, with touches of heat to seal off each phrase. From there, the music gets nicely spiky in a late piano trio passage, filled with unison jabs and crashes even as they keep to the minimal theme in a supple, responsive way. Stenson flirts with the Blues here and there, but he’s so quick and subtle about it that it’s almost imperceptible. There’s real urgency and throb to “Lekh Leka,” and Stenson is exuberant, pushed continually by the terrific bassist and drummer. The same is true for the hardcore groove and nimble swing on title track, and the glorious mid-tempo closer. I would never have imagined this particular pairing, but it works damn well.