Tom Bancroft: Trio Red

From First Hello To Last Goodbye

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Listening to drummer Tom Bancroft's latest venture, it's often difficult to reconcile the quality, strength and collective purpose of the playing with the spontaneous circumstances of the recording. Bancroft and pianist Tom Cawley (who leads his own jazz trio Curios) had played together casually and briefly before. Neither had even met Per Zanussi when he turned up in Pathhead in Midlothian as a replacement for Bancroft's original choice of bassist. And yet they're definitely a unit from the first hellos – free improvisations with rules or directions from Bancroft – to the beautifully understated but still buoyant and celebratory reading of Jeff Buckley's Last Goodbye that closes the album. A very natural-sounding pairing of Ornette Coleman's Lonely Woman and Joan Armatrading's Opportunity introduces a collection that's by turns playful, attractively melancholic, catchy in a Monk-like way (Bancroft's own The Mole Of History Takes A Bow And Trips), beautifully poignant and consistently absorbing.

Rob Adams