Cool Splendor: “Sky Glow,” The Chris Platt Trio

Chris Platt Trio - Sky Glow

I’ve been living with this album for a while, letting it seep into my senses – some albums just need that space to breathe in one’s heart and mind, to get truly well acquainted.  “Sky Glow,” the recent release from The Chris Platt Trio, has been a most excellent companion for several weeks now.

At first, the tone of Chris Platt’s guitar – which is superb – inspired comparisons in my head to renowned jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, but where a fair amount of Montgomery’s music was white-hot, “Sky Glow” burns with a cool but deep inner glow that’s equally radiant but far more contemplative.  He is well partnered in this effort by bassist Phill Albert and drummer Robin Claxton.

The album opens with “I Like the Sad Ones,” which curiously puts me in mind of some of George Shearing’s work – those slightly dissonant chords that nevertheless resolve into a soothing, beautiful harmony.  The piece may begin soothingly enough, but it gradually builds into a quietly intense crescendo – proof (as I am forever trying to tell students) that intensity doesn’t necessarily require full-on volume in music.  (If anything, an intense quiet is markedly more challenging than a full-throttle forte.)

“Plenty,” the second track, is an uptempo, swinging delight, with Platt’s guitar melody soaring over some excellent bass lines from Phill Albert.  “No More” and the title track bring us back down a bit in tempo and mood with gorgeously reflective melodies.  “January,” contrary to its title (which might anticipate grey bleakness), has a cool intensity – then “Platter” opens up the floor for some full-hilt liveliness, amply demonstrating that the Chris Platt Trio is not just about cool, soothing jazz, but can really rock too.  As much as I love the slower compositions, I must admit some partiality to “Platter,” especially the middle section, which breaks into full-out swing (and a wonderful sound it is, too).

The title “Sky Glow” is a telling and apt evocation of this album’s ambience – a coolness that nevertheless burns white hot.  Although my primary enjoyment of the album has been while traveling (mostly by necessity), this strikes me as the kind of music that you put on late at night, a glass of your favorite liquid fortifier in hand, the lights dimmed, perhaps a fire burning, and just let it sink in.  I fully anticipate this album frequently being my travel companion going forward – highly recommended and enjoyed.

~ L

Visit Chris Platt’s website.

Preview and buy “Sky Glow” on Bandcamp.

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