GIG — June 8, 2010
Tom O’Halloran, piano
Peter Jeavons, acoustic bass
Daniel Susnjar, drums
This trio called at Melbourne during a national tour, with assistance from Soundtravellers, also stopping in Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth. Susnjar returned from Miami University, where he has studied for a Masters in Music Performance, to reunite with Jeavons and O’Halloran from Perth.
I was reminded of the Claudia Quintet, which performed at this year’s Melbourne International Jazz Festival, because the trio seemed to leave behind the idea of a series of set solos in each piece and rather create a free-flowing form in which solos grew out of what was invented in the moment and then become immersed in what followed.
They played Green Hills and White Clouds from the album of that name, Zee Zee (for J.Z), from second album We Happy Few and written for Jonathan Swartz, then Get Me To the Village, Mosaic and Vocalese before closing the set with Squashua, which O’Halloran wrote for his brother.
The intricacy and finesse of Susnjar’s drums were striking, and O’Halloran’s piano was like a voice speaking from behind in Mosaic and beautifully whimsical in Vocalese. At the time I wrote that this trio had “energy, lightness of touch and inventiveness” and the music “always seems to be changing, to be turning a new corner”.
O’Halloran on piano has a delicacy and luminescence. Susnjar on drums is highly responsive to the bass and piano. At times he is explosive, yet not necessarily loud. The trio seems to build layers through varying the tempo and dynamics, but does so quite finely as to create a kind of filagree storm or a cloud of delicacy. But the result is not like a cloud because the elements retain their separateness and continue to work independently in response to others.
The music builds quickly, then subsides quickly, with runs of rapid beats, notes and changes in dynamics, all of which seem to create and then relieve tension. It’s as if the trio is celebrating the sheer joy of three rhythm instruments.
In the second set, Becoming was followed by a version of I’ll Be Yours Baby Tonight, Lullaby for You and Your Love and Tone Poem. This was a really interesting night of music by a trio that is taking new directions.
Peter Jeavons and Daniel Susnjar