Negroni’s Trio is a hell of a jazz piano trio, and I’ll tell you why. Last week I embarked on a long road trip running errands for Part-Time Audiophile. I dropped off the McIntosh MC2152 power amp at the Mac factory in Binghamton NY and picked up the MCD600 CD/SACD player, I dropped down to Philly to eat a fabulous cheesesteak with Doug White of The Voice That Is!, I met with Scot Hull in Maryland and exchanged some review equipment and finally I headed down to Richmond VA to cover the Fern & Roby Listening Room Open House. The trip down was easy since I could drive it in two to three hour chunks, but the drive back on Sunday was eight hours straight from Richmond to Rochester. I was tired, but I was determined to get home ASAFP to settle in for the winter.
What kept me awake and focused? Negroni’s Trio new album, Acustico. Holy crap, this is energetic stuff. Jazz piano trios can take several different approaches–intimate and small, for example, or busy with filling up the empty spaces between the performers. Negroni’s Trio just kicks butt from the first song to the last, with drummer Nomar Negroni, pianist Jose Negroni (Nomar’s dad) and bassist Josh Allen flying by the seat of their collective pants for more than 47 minutes.
Arguably, Nomar’s swift and powerful drumming is the engine driving Negroni’s Trio. His rolls and fills are like mini-roller coaster rides, faster than fast and incredibly satisfying. The first listen through that’s all I could hear, Nomar careening through these tracks like a man possessed. During the second listen, I noticed that Nomar’s dad was just a quick on piano, albeit more anchored with the chore of supplying the melody to Nomar’s storm. After a while I noticed Josh Allen’s bass keeping up with Nomar, fluid yet equally swift. This is a finely tuned engine–in the world of jazz trios, I can’t think of a stronger sense of unity than this.
Negroni’s Trio specializes in latin jazz, which is a little surprising. Those phrasings don’t come into view until you catch your breath, something that doesn’t happen until you listen a few times. Acustico meshes covers and original compositions, the latter being more prominent. Both father and son contribute almost equally to the compositions, which I think supplies the heart and soul to this tremendous energy. The more I listen to Negroni’s Trio, the more deeply I hear into it. But I’ll never forget that first listen, driving through the middle of Pennsylvania and New York, wide awake and enthralled. Deline Briscoe was a wonderful companion on the way down south, but Negroni’s Trio got me home, up north, in one piece.