Jeff Denson, Romain Pilon And Brian Blade, Finding Light Review
by Ferell Aubre
Finding Light is the second album for Jeff Denson (bass), Romain Pilon (guitar), and Brian Blade (drums). The trio met while attending Berklee College of Music and have had unique chemistry ever since. Their second release presents ten tracks consisting of original compositions by Denson or Pilon. Denson provides six pieces, and Pilon contributes the remaining four. The music theme celebrates the ability to perform together after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Daily Jubilee of Dancing Herbie D” opens Finding Light with a five/four funky groove from the pen of Denson. Denson’s bass is woody and fills the bottom with rich sonorities as he merges with Blade’s ever-creative drumming. Pilon is from the John Schofield lineage of sound and solo concepts. His mix of blues in his playing is enjoyable and adds to its expressive nature. His use of string bending is also very meaningful. The music has a satisfying arc as the three communicate to perform a stunning opening selection.
“The Tipster” from Denson offers a catchy melody with a hard-swinging solo section. Blade’s drumming is buoyant as Pilon builds each phrase in register and activity. Denson follows Pilon’s harmonic explorations effortlessly as he forms the link between Blade and Pilon. Denson’s solo is ringing in its harmonic clarity and rhythmic percussion.
Finding Light offers a wide range of feels, textures, and improvisation vehicles. Denson’s and Pilon’s compositional styles a similar enough to form a cohesive whole but varied enough to give variety to the album. The trio is very interactive, which leads to a rewarding deep listening experience and will withstand many repeated listens.