Each trio brings something unique to each of the songs, and for that reason, it is recommended to all fans of piano and piano trios

Origin Arts OA2222

Francesco Crosara (Acoustic Piano, Synthesizer), Clipper Anderson (Acoustic Bass), Mark Ivester (Drums), Farko Dosumov (Electric Bass), D’Vonne Lewis (Drums), Osama Afifi (Electric Bass), Xavier Lecouturier (Drums)

Recorded January 17 & 18, 2022

Circular Motion is a captivating album. It features three distinct piano trios with three different flavors: one with acoustic bass and drums and two with electric bass and drums. This innovative three-band approach piqued my curiosity, and I was pleasantly surprised by the diverse and rich musical journey this album offers.

Crosara was born in Milan and raised in Rome, Italy. His mother, Lilian Terry, was one of Europe’s foremost jazz singers for four decades. In the seventies, Crosara studied in Rome for three years and then began focusing on harmony, composition, and improvisation. In 1981, he attended USC in Los Angeles and became a permanent member of the USC jazz big band. Circular Motion features all original material composed over the last 40 years.

The opening cut starts with an upbeat song, “Preludio Flamenco.” The band is very tight throughout the song. Crosara’s piano touch is light but propels the music forward. This song makes me want to see Crosara play with any trio he assembles.

“Longing” introduces the acoustic trio, offering a different emotional landscape. The bassist and drummer provide a perfect counterpoint to Crosara, creating a musical dialogue that tugs at the heartstrings. The pianist’s reflective and sedate tone evokes a sense of distance, yet the warmth and desire in the relationship are palpable, making this song a poignant and beautiful experience.

Corsara’s “Julia’s Tango” features a synthesizer-led sound with a Rhodes electric piano-like quality. The song starts slow and languorous, but midway through, Crosara picks up the pace and introduces a sound reminiscent of Chick Corea’s electric piano era (“Light as a Feather”) era. As the tempo increases, the bass and drummer pick up on the transition, with the bassist driving the band through the mid-section. Crosara’s piano style returns to close out the song.

“Gymnopedie No. 4” is a lighter-hearted song with the piano setting out an upbeat, happy music. The album’s namesake, “Circular Motion,” features the acoustic trio again playing, but Corsara adopts Keith Jarrett’s funky feel on the piano. It is a tasteful outing with interesting piano statements throughout.

Each trio brings something unique to each of the songs, and for that reason, it is recommended to all fans of piano and piano trios. Each trio brings something different to their respective songs, highlighting different colors and a different feel to each song.