Meraki, Meraki Review
by Nolan DeBuke
Jacky Naylor is a North Yorkshire-born composer and pianist and the leader of the jazz trio Meraki. Meraki (μεράκι) is the Greek concept for ‘the creativity or love you put into something; the essence of yourself that is put into your work.’ Naylor’s music with Meraki is centrally based in the European jazz sounds while mixing in American post-bop. The trio is filled out by bassist Nick Jurd and drummer Jonathan Silk.
“9 Lives” has many layers of rhythmic density, working together to form a wonderfully European jazz groove at its best. Jurd and Silk create a pad for Naylor’s ostinatic playing and phrasing. The energy is high, and the colors of harmonic and melodic textures make “9 Lives” special.
“Sherpa” is filled with textures of call and response over a moving ostinato. Naylor’s compositional skills are beautiful here. The varying surface of each section is exciting and adds to the flow. Jurd and Silk again provide a fantastic groove for Naylor. Naylor’s solo is passionate, and this is my favorite one on the date.
Meraki was born out of their desire to play complex contemporary music, inspired by the great European jazz trios. Meraki is nine songs that certainly accomplish that goal and more. Naylor is an outstanding composer, and the trio is communitive and musical.