George Colligan’s previous recording Runaway was, in his viewpoint, sonically less homogeneous than this one, but the diversity he has embraced on Come Together is much more pronounced. Sticking with the piano-bass-drums acoustic trio setting, Colligan is stretching out into more arenas of modern jazz, exploring the progressive inclinations of his persona, and dipping into the simplistic side on occasion. This three-piece combo of pianist Colligan, bassist Boris Kozlov, and drummer Donald Edwards has provided the rhythmic component of both the Mingus Dynasty and Mingus Big Band, but this is their first recorded excursion apart from those acclaimed jazz orchestras, playing Colligan’s inventive and distinctive music. Fans of the Bad Plus might appreciate tracks like the darker “Lift” or off minor “Uncharted Territory” that display a rock edge within their dank heaviness. Then there’s the paradoxical “Have No Fear,” merging tricky 6/8 and simpler 4/4 rhythms into one against a driving beat from Edwards. Colligan’s stabbing piano chords during “Reaction” sidle with fleet lines and very complex ideas for the more open-minded, while the playful swing of “Venom” with repeat themes, and the funky cover of the Beatles “Come Together” are conversely easily rendered and not so challenging. A lithe and bouncy, rather straight read of “The Shadow of Your Smile” adds further emotional depth, while the pile-driving, McCoy Tyner-styled “To the Wall” again offers the yang to the yin in hip, heavy, harmonic ways. Colligan is a great talent whose musicality is immediately recognizable even if his personal style is not. Kozlov and Edwards are also extremely talented performers who can push the pianist just to the brink without plunging to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It’s this kind of camaraderie that allows this modern jazz to bend but not break, making for a very satisfying listening experience for both heart and head. – Michael G. Nastosmore »
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