Drummer and educator Michael Waldrop focuses on both drum set and tuned percussion (marimba/vibraphone). He is a Professor of Percussion and Jazz Studies at Eastern Washington University. Recording for Origin Records since 2014, Waldrop has already released two offerings on the label: Time Within (Origin, 2015) and Origin Suite (Origin, 2018).
Waldrop’s 2020 endeavor Triangularity is a remastered reissue of an earlier album, with bonus tracks added to the original tracks. It features a core jazz trio comprised of pianist Vlad Girshevich and bassist Eric Thorin. The bonus tracks feature acclaimed Italian saxophonist Michael Rosen and bassist John Lockwood.
Waldrop kicks the album off with a buoyant swing number, “Twisted Barb.” Girshevich’s feel is locked with Thorin’s and Waldrop’s swing time. The trio is interactive, and there is a joy to their playing that can be heard and felt. Girshevich’s motif development during his solo is rife with enjoyment. Waldrop’s polyrhythms and accents push the energy. “Twisted Barb” sets the tone for the rest of the set and signifies these gents can swing. Equally gratifying are the Latin rhythms of “Cascades,” a quick-paced tune that highlights Waldrop’s textural abilities on his kit. Girshevich glides across the keys with a reverent beauty that glistens atop Thorin’s driving rhythm.
“Ivana” finds Rosen adding his unique playing and rhythmic sounds to the trio. The Latin feel is alluring, with Lockwood and Waldrop creating a bossa nova feel. Girshevich’s solo is active while still maintaining musicality and a melodic sense that is easy to follow. Rosen has a big warm saxophone sound. Waldrop’s Latin rhythm vocabulary is impressive and exceedingly musical.
Throughout Triangularity, each player has a sense of ease and maturity. Whether portraying the quiet respite of “2-2-2” or the relaxed yearning of “Longing” or the harmonic complexities “Doo Dat Tang,” the listen is varied yet cohesive throughout.
Twisted Barb; Belgrade; 2-2-2; Time Within Itself; Longing; Doo Dat Tang; Ivana; Cascades; Try Angularity; Banja Vrujci.
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