Colorfield by Romain Pilon opens with an effusive and warm coated Acceptance which establishes the mood of what follows, almostThe Blossoming of Parting an hour and seven tracks later.
Inspired by a new direction taken by a handful of Abstract Expressionists in New York in the 1950s, Acceptance could have been produced by Jackon Pollock, because the solid spread of colour he sought at his critical peak, is exemplified by the gorgeous tenor sax of Walter Smith III.
It’s just a wonderfully accessible track, with tone and harmony reminiscent of Brandford Marsalis in his Metamorphosen days (checkThe Blossoming of Parting): the playing we have come to relish from Pilon must wait until track two, Twombly, called after the last of the truly original Abstract Expressionists, who died last year, and his famous process of taking a line for a walk is mirrored by Pilon’s playing, accompanied by Michael Janisch’s acoustic bass and pared back drums by Jamire Williams.
If both Acceptance and Twombly were laid back, Man On A Wire, extends the acoustic feel of the latter, with the notable addition of the saxophone, which maintains the ballad tempo.
Three On Seven, with Janisch distinctive, doesn’t rock the cradle and segues the change in pace between Man O A Wire and the too short Lonely Woman, a sumptuous contribution from Walter Smith III, with Pilon again prepared to wait in the wings until some gorgeous interplay with Janisch.
There are no dud moments on this recording, and the remaining three tracks are a consolidation of the tempo: Colorfield, with Janisch driving the beat, is as close to hearing what the quartet sounds live, with urgent playing from both Smith and the ever subtle Williams.
The recording, and all of the tracks are original bar Lonely Woman, is bookended by the most adventurous, 7th Hour, in which the quartet is divided into two, with Pilon and Smith shadow boxing with the tight rhythm duo, Janisch and Williams, with the temp going through the roof without departing from the preceding narrative. This is not a collection which grows on you: it attaches itself from the start and requires repeat playing. All that’s missing is a sunny day, an open top and a clear road ahead.