Gary Peacock, who turned 80 since this album was recorded, remains the preeminent living jazz bassist. He was a part of the 1960s free-jazz explosion with Albert Ayler and helped fashion the very bones of modern piano-trio jazz with Bill Evans, Paul Bley and Keith Jarrett. Amazingly this is the first Peacock-led band recording since 1987, and the bassist is joined by pianist Marc Copland and drummer Joey Baron. They share Peacock’s delight in chiselling the sharp edges off the compositions and disguising the lines between composition and improvisation. They also hide bar-lines, so streams of melody emerge from nowhere and evaporate just as unexpectedly.
Peacock’s playing has lost none its vigour or sinuousness, and his bass has been magnificently recorded. Copland’s distinctive approach mingles effervescence and enigma, and Baron plays with something of the same joyous naivety with which Henri Rousseau painted. An undervalued composer, Peacock revisits such timeless pieces as Moor and Vignette, alongside contributions from his colleagues and a cover of Scott LaFaro’s Gloria’s Step. An instant classic.