Clay Giberson, Piano; Dave Captein, Bass; Chris Lee, Drums
On their record Mirador, Clay Giberson, Dave Captein and Chris Lee demonstrate, both as individual instrumentalists and as an ensemble, a nice and easy touch and sound. Their light and pleasant bounce is the most distinctive quality of this ensemble. This time feel is basically how they approach most of their material: speed, density, volume are essencially medium. The trio seemingly refuses to bring any notable intensity to the material (the closest they come is #7, "The Spirit Lingers"), to swing hard, to play their music without relying on a cushion of ambient noise that they coax from their instruments and reinforce with production techniques. Giberson, who wrote all the material, combines some pleasant moments of harmony, decent flavors and nice vamps with an unfortunate tendency to forego the most compelling material in favor of wimpier fare, often demonstrated with predictably spacious and/or sappy melodies. Also, the songs provide little imagination when it comes to form, especially for improvisations: solos over a pedal tone (as on #4, "Incompatibility), purposeless excessive repetition (#2, "Have Wings...Will Fly" is the poster boy), uninspiring group interaction without significant direction (#7,5,9) and some strange ideas about song arc and development (#1,3,6), e.g., an outro gets much more time and weight than any other single part of the tune. They do seem to be achieving their musical goals as an ensemble. Those who prefer lighter Jazz that focuses more on ambiance than contour will probably like Mirador. Giberson and trio are consistent and fairly polished in their execution.
by Eric Roth
Jazz Now Interactive
Copyright Jazz Now, October 2002 issue, all rights reserved