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Koppel Colley Blade - Perspective (Cowbell)

20 September 2023

Also known as the KCB Collective, saxophonist Benjamin Koppel, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Brian Blade have been a working band for a decade. So Perspective, the trio’s second album, already displays the tight bond a gang of musos who’ve played together for that long develop. Imagine that kind of interaction applied to memorable melodies, and you have a fair picture of a jazz trio at its peak. Koppel often plays around the tune, rooting himself in its essence, but unafraid to race outside its boundaries. Colley doubles or even claims the main riff as his own, providing a foundation on which his horny bandmate can comfortably stand. Blade simply proves over and over again why he’s one of the most in-demand drummers in jazz – keeping a toe in the beat’s water while pushing, prodding, and provoking his bandmates, often while offering up his own hooks as counterpoint to those from the more melodic instruments. The triad doesn’t so much veer from approach to approach as slide into one from the other, whether it’s the straightforward postbop of Koppel’s “Coconino County,” the quietly intense searching of “37.33 Seconds,” or the bluesy gospel of the bassist’s “Don’t Rise.” KCB ends the album with the collective composition “After Time,” nailing their improvisational chops into a tune that will stay in their repertoire for as long as they last.