Ben Geyer Trio – The Acadian Orogeny Review

by Elberton Cisnero

Pianist Ben Geyer has created a lasting and meaningful statement that combines the beauty of nature and the fruitful language of jazz to convey his human journey The Acadian Orogeny, that manifested such an impression on his soul, that he composed music to express that imagery with song.  Joined by bassist, Peter Dominguez and drummer Zaire Darden the three embark on a enigmatic task of expressing the beauty of the Acadian without the use of words, only the use of their instruments to pay homage to the breathtaking journey as penned by Geyer.

“High Tide” is a Geyer original that has a wonderful mix of shifting rhythms, band hits, various feels, and interesting harmony. The trio really shows their ability to control the space with this track. All three dig in and listen to each other and work together to maintain a consistent harmonic color and energy. Dominquez solos first, with an emphasis on creating melodies, he never over plays or pushes the time. Geyer’s solo has an excellent balance of interestingly voiced chords and single lines. Geyer’s use of motifs and pentatonics is musical and fits agreeably within the mood and elements of “High Tide.”

Starting with Geyer alone at the piano, “The Acadian Orogeny” has elements of classical that gives variance to the flow of the album and develops into an energetic track. Geyer’s contrapuntal control in the opening is meaningful, each line and rhythm is clearly played and work well together. The theme is developed further when Dominguez and Darden enter. The polyrhythms are interesting, and the trio again works well together to create a space in which the music lives and breathes. The compositional form is a mini suite unto itself. The second theme is slower, and Dominguez’s bowing is a perfect vehicle to introduce the haunting melody. Geyer develops his piano solo out of this space, together the three build the music, all while still maintaining harmonic and energetic control and color. The original theme is revisited for the ending statement. This composition shows wide range of both written and improvised control on Geyer’s part. This is a magical, musical statement the marries elements of classical and jazz in a perfectly joyous musical union.

Geyer is a new name to me, but one worth savoring.  His attention to the smallest detail is stunning, and his effortless way of conveying those ideas takes the listener deeper into the message of the music.  Joined by an apt bassist and drummer, clearly in symbiosis with his ideals, it makes for a lasting moment of engagement for the listener with The Acadian Orogeny.

Tracks to sample first: “High Tide,” “The Acadian Orogeny,” and “Five-Tone Blues.” The song to take a chance on is “Giant Steps.”

 

 

 

 

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