I’ll start with a quote before I tell you – and rave – about the Brooklyn, New York-based Danny Fox Trio. “Some people try to get very philosophical and cerebral about what they’re trying to say with jazz. You don’t need any prologues, you just play.”
The late, great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson said this and I like it because I’m unable to get philosophical and cerebral about “Wide Eyed,” the new album from the Danny Fox Trio. I’m still afraid to write about jazz because I know Maine has many serious aficionados who won’t be impressed with my feeble attempt at talking big about something I lack the vocabulary for.
But you know something, I’m going to do it anyway. Because jazz pianist Danny Fox dazzles me and his new CD has taken root in my head and ears where it continues to grow, fed by the positive brainwaves I emit when I listen to it.
The trio is Fox on piano, the drummer is Max Goldman and Pownal native Chris Van Voorst Van Beest is on bass. The synergy of these three players is off the chart and listening to one song after the other was like being led into both an amusement park and a serene botanical garden. There are stops along the way through an intricate maze lined with hot potatoes, beat poets, fortune tellers, lazy rivers, speak easys and musicians who are having a hell of a good time.
These three guys all leave their own vapor trail of huge talent with their instruments and all have full musical lives including being part of this trio. The 11 songs of “Wide Eyed” have both cohesive and flight-of-fancy elements. Songs like the moody “Confederates,” the playful “Bonkers,” the spirited “All Tolled” and the elegant “Patriot Daze,” make this trip a colorful, satisfying one. And as the final notes of the last song “Tumble Quiet” fade out, I hop on again for another ride. www.dannyfoxmusic.com
Danny Fox Trio. 8 p.m. Saturday. One Longfellow Square. 181 State St., Portland. $12 in advance; $17 day of show; onelongfellowsquare.com
THE NEXT STOP is Biddeford. The Oak and the Ax and Space Gallery are co-presenting a show featuring Chicago native Haley Fohr, aka Circuit des Yeux. Find the band online at www.circuitdesyeux.net.
Fohr doesn’t have a traditionally “pretty” voice but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. There’s a passionate edge to it that keeps me interested. The song “Lithonia” features gorgeous strings while Fohr sings “You got that lottery ticket in your hand/doesn’t it feel grand to have a second chance?” File Circuit des Yeux under experimental, mysterious, dreamy and intense. In other words, I dig it. Also ion the bill is Dream Reaper and Caethua. Caethua is aka Clare Hubbard. Per her label’s website: “Clare is a goat farmer in backwoods Maine and records records there in a rusted out school bus by the river.” My kind of musician!
Circuit des Yeux. With Caethua and Dream Reaper. 8 p.m. Sunday. The Oak & The Ax, 140 Main St., Suite 107, Biddeford; $8; space538.org (for tickets)