…Pianist Gabriel Latchin seems to just keep on getting better and better.

Alys Jazz AJ1504

Gabriel Latchin (piano); Joe Farnsworth (drums); Jeremy Brown (bass)

Recorded 5th May 2022

Over the course of the last few albums, Viewpoint is his fourth release under his own name, pianist Gabriel Latchin seems to just keep on getting better and better. His music is always tasteful and respectful of the tradition of the piano trio, but he always has something of his own to say, and with this new album even more so as he has written all the compositions.

In less capable hands this can be a risky move, but Latchin’s compositions have a familiar feeling in their construction and concept, while being interesting melodically and harmonically as new pieces. In addition, with this recording the pianist is debuting a new trio featuring bassist Jeremy Brown and US drummer Joe Farnsworth.

Taking inspiration from the piano trios of Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal, and Bill Evans, and also discerning the playing of Herbie Hancock, Barry Harris and Cedar Walton, the pianist has much to live up to. With these influences thoroughly assimilated, Latchin has forged his own sound, and is able to translate this via his compositions and with the assistance of Jeremy Brown and Joe Farnsworth to straight ahead jazz of the highest order. Indeed, it is musicians like Gabriel Latchin that keep the music alive and well, and a vital part of today’s jazz.

Kicking things off with a swinging number is never a bad idea, and ‘Says Who?’ does just that. From the outset the trio swing with a grace and elegance, with a lovely flowing solo from Latchin.

In writing his own music, the compositions quite rightly are very personal to the pianist. There are two absolutely gorgeous pieces that Gabriel wrote for and inspired by his children. After the birth of his second son, Oscar, he sat down and wrote the beautiful ballad ‘A Mother’s Love’ and ‘Prim and Proper’ that he dedicates to his daughter who is nicknamed Primrose in a gently swinging number that captures childhood innocence with a hint of mischief.

After three albums that demonstrate his command of the standard repertoire, Latchin’s move to a set of all original compositions shows that he is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, and if the tunes ‘Train of Thought’, ‘Mr. Walton’ and ‘A Song For Herbie’ for Ahmad Jamal, Cedar Walton and Herbie Hancock respectively, he also is unafraid to step out and lay his stall out with ‘Rest And Be Thankful’ (just listen to how the trio listen and react to each other here) and ‘A Stitch In Time’ with some propulsive brushwork for Farnsworth and a brisk solo from the leader.

The best piano trios can elicit a feeling of timelessness in their music, and this is certainly the case with this exceptional group of musicians.