Thursday, April 16, 2020


Judging by social media posts and online conversations, I'm thinking all this staying-at-home we've been doing has affected the way many of us are listening to music. Basically, people are truly listening more. With more time and less running around, listeners pay attention more. I've even noticed lots of experimental listening going on, people trying out stuff they've always meant to get to, but hadn't found time.

For me, that always means jazz, an area where I'm woefully behind. Deep listening is essential for full appreciation, so I was glad to be able to devote much of this week to the new album by Calgary's Petrity. It's the second album by the pianist and composer, who fronts a classic piano-bass-drums trio (Robin Tufts on drums, Stefano Valdo, bass). I love that format, as it gives so much room to each musician. Valdo handles much of the melody on "He Said, She Said," his acoustic bass rich and strong, able to provide all the needed emotion.

Emotional melodies are certainly Petrity's strong suit. Each of the nine tracks (eight originals and one cover) are filled with mood, evoking feelings ranging from  wonder and hope to memories of mistakes. Never flashy, her playing is still full and intricate, letting the notes and arrangements do the talking. The songs wash over you, warm and positive.

From bebop to samba, the trio goes through classic styles, opener "Conversations In My Head" the most rhythmic and a strong showcase for Tufts. The lone cover, of "Can't Help Falling In Love," is a complete re-do, slow and bluesy, with lots of wonderful improvisation around the theme by Petrity, including some rare flourishes. Never overplayed, I could listen to this trio any time, and hope to the next time I'm out in Calgary.

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