Tercet

Biography:

The trio of tenor saxophonist Benn Clatworthy, bassist John Belzaguy and drummer Jimmy Branly perform together, truth be told, only on occasion, now and again, when time and commitments allow. Listening to Tercet, of course, you’d never know it. A three-sided stanza on the blues, bop and harmony, the album revels in presenting a tight knit, responsive entity of sound and magic. Through their nine original tunes, the group finds common ground in celebrating the beauty and depth of their musical relationship. New York bassist John Belzaguy proves to be the anchor, an unwavering force of rhythm and melody; he traverses the busier paths of Clatworthy and Branly with calm, soulful resolve. A keen composer, as well, Belzaguy contributes three, highly evocative pieces, “11th Hour,” “Tom,” and “Left Coast.” Though drummer Jimmy Branly contributes only one composition, the urgent “90 Miles,” he is the greatest agitator on this album, insisting and marrying his beats to Clatworthy’s unassuming nature and Belzaguy’s hospitable bass work. As his sole composition suggests, jazz and Latin music are hardly worlds apart. They, in fact, share a common lineage, an African ancestry, always in demand of a dance, a celebration, a joy through rhythm that Branly gleefully provides throughout Tercet. The final piece of the trio, Benn Clatworthy, is an interesting one. His assurances on the saxophone were, in his earlier days, often compared to the equally confident sounds of John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. Such associations, meant to compliment, often relegate originality into obscurity or imitation. As heard on his five diverse compositions, “Blue Drew,” “Emeldo,” “The Dark Mr. Light,” “For My Mum,” and “Have you Heard John Heard,” (for another L.A. stalwart, bassist John Heard), we glimpse the current Benn Clatworthy, one meriting modern praise. Honoring the past and celebrating the future, enriched by the trio’s creative resonance, the group bridges a path for entrenched minds to move past the same old set of classics and experience a modern vehicle of jazz.