1. Mirror of Youth
2. Barbara Allen
4. The David, Geri & Terri Show
5. The Nurturer
7. D Special (Interlude)
8. Samsara (For Wayne)
9. For Fr. Peter O'Brien
10. Cycles and Seasons
The longest track on “Perfection,” the debut album by a jazz trio with David Murray on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Geri Allen on piano and Terri Lyne Carrington on drums, clocks in at just over eight minutes, covering so much ground that it feels almost like an epic. Composed by Mr. Murray, it’s a swinging tune with a pensive yet intrepid melody, and a midsection of bristling abstraction. The title is playfully apt: “The David, Geri & Terri Show.”
Dynamic combustion is the core characteristic of this all-star trio, which first convened at the 2015 NYC Winter Jazzfest. Mr. Murray, 61, is an improviser of great, garrulous bluster, while Ms. Allen and Ms. Carrington, both in their 50s, have forged prominent careers more in line with the postbop mainstream.
“Perfection” was recorded one week after the death of Ornette Coleman, whose trailblazing music and spirit influenced each member of the group. The title track is a previously unissued piece of Mr. Coleman’s, in a manner of speaking: It’s a scrappy tune transcribed from his alto saxophone playing.
For its official premiere, the track has reinforcements: Along with the trio, it features the bassist Charnett Moffett (a Coleman alumnus), the trombonist Craig Harris (a Murray confrere) and the trumpeter Wallace Roney Jr. (Ms. Allen’s son). Across the board, the performances are thrilling and taut, more celebration than elegy.
The same is true of the album’s other nods of tribute: a flowing elaboration on “Barbara Allen,” the traditional folk song, linked to the memory of the bassist Charlie Haden; “The Nurturer,” a soul ballad dedicated to the trumpeter and mentor Marcus Belgrave; and “For Fr. Peter O’Brien,” a springy invention inspired by the Jesuit priest who managed the pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams. Ms. Allen composed or arranged each of these, and the trio gives them a vital lift.
Elsewhere — on “Geri-Rigged,” by Ms. Carrington, for instance — the trio works with a firmly articulated rhythmic premise that gradually gives way to an expressionistic scrawl. The tension between form and freedom is obvious but never overstated, and the rapport within the trio is exceptionally strong. (Nate Chinen, New York Times)