Anytime Bob Gluck releases new music, I’m happy. This means this will be a good review, for he has returned in a trio setting with Dean Sharp and Michael Bisio in an album called, aptly, Returning (FMR Records).
Gluck is a musician whose approach to the piano is admirable, for it sounds like someone with class, or at least someone who has the utmost respect for the instrument and those before him who have made the instrument what it has become in the world of jazz. The opening track sounds like something freeform, as he’s going everywhere with the piano (think of Keith Jarrett‘s more adventurous works, sans grunts), but maybe it’s meant to describe his own “Lifeline”. It sounds great, as if he revealed a box of emotions and what you’re hearing is his intuition at play. Then when Bisio uses his bass as a lasso to round everyone up, you know you’re up for a fantastic listen, which is what this album is.
While I love structured jazz, I also love the freedom that jazz provides, and this is one of those albums where upon first listen, you cannot expect anything for what you expect to hear will not happen. It’s not free jazz, but the spirit of improvisation and what the next man will do is evident throughout, there’s a trust each musician has and they put into the mix and have fun. There are songs that are a bit more polished, but when Gluck and Bisio handle their own solos, or Sharp drums in and adds a nice percussive twist to things, you know your’e hearing something exceptional. In the vast world of jazz, that’s saying a lot and fortunately, the Bob Gluck Trio enjoy saying many things.