Not only is Ireland’s Kevin Brady an exceptional jazz drummer, he is a composer of expanding breadth and creativity. In writing for his trio with fellow Irishman Dave Redmond (bass) and the American pianist Bill Carrothers he crafts pieces replete with that most magical of musical assets: surprise. How the Other Half Lives, for instance, has a journeying quality as it flows through different sections and settings for improvising. Checkpoint Charlie has jolting rhythmic switchbacks with the teasing release of a mid-tempo swing, and then some flying piano from Carrothers when the time doubles.
By contrast the title track is a floating world of mysteries, partly underpinned by a chant-like bass ostinato, and the drifting Just at Sunset sees Brady writing lyrics, sung by the peerless Norma Winstone. She returns for three others songs, including exuding a sophisticated blend of world-weariness and vulnerability on Gershwin’s But Not For Me, and adding a wordless vocal to Keith Jarrett’s blithe Southern Smiles. The playing, meanwhile contains an interesting tension between the impressionist inclinations of Redmond and Brady and Carrothers’ more overtly jazzy tendencies.