Doncaster-born British pianist John Escreet lived in New York between 2006 and 2020. He moved to Los Angeles just before the pandemic in 2020. During his time in America, he recorded eight albums with many important figures of the contemporary jazz scene. After recording eight albums as a leader, but he recorded the first trio album of his career with his friends from Los Angeles, Grammy Award-winning composer and double bassist Eric Revis and Grammy nominated drummer Damion Reid. The band gave their first concert in June 2021 and Seismic Shift, recorded at Big City Recordings Studio in California, is out worldwide on October 7, 2022 via Whirlwind Recodings label which is a musician-owned and operated, London-based indie that has released an eclectic catalogue of over 170 albums since its inception in 2010.
Seismic Shift is an album that, as the name implies, contains repetitive shocking effects that will cause earthquakes. We know Escreet as an accompanist with names such as Antonio Sanchez, Tyshawn Sorey, David Binney, Evan Parker, but we hear again that his composition and group leadership are at a high level in this album. It is a charismatic album with extremely high energy and a percussive form that increases the minute-by-minute emphasis and opens up space for unlimited improvisations. The album is based on the idea of creating diversity that Escreet seeks while making his own music. There are beauties in some places, and furious moments in another parts. Abstract approaches versus moments of tonality. But all of them in a certain clarity and purposed.
6 of the 9 tracks in the album composed by Escreet. Outward and Upward and Quick Reset composed by the trio. The Equipoise is a piece by late Stanley Cowell. Escreet adapted this piece from Cowell’s version from his 1974 releases great solo piano album Musa-Ancestral Streams, released via Strata-East. The beauty in the main motif of the piece is clear enough to flow into your heart every time you listen to it. In this piece, Damion Reid’s attacks and Revis’ balancing the tension, Esceet’s unlimited improvisation technique creates an amazing combination. One of the performances that will help us to illustrate the most dynamic and magnificent example of the piano trio form with a single piece. Escreet reverently polishes the dust of Cowell’s gem, bringing the exquisite piece back to the light of day.
Outward and Upward opens with chaotic improvisations, rising higher with each hit. It continues with repeated repetitions that will make the listener memorize the motif. Then we feel the melody slowly dissolving and disappearing.
Seismic Shift is a bold and powerful work in terms of concept, execution and idea. The cover design is simple and eye-catching.
By the way, one last note. In the concerts of the album, I saw that Matt Brewer from time to time and John Hebert from time to time took part in double bass during the concerts, as well as Revis, and sometimes Mark Turner contributed to the Seismic Shift Quartet. I think they are all good musicians that we would enjoy watching live in any combination. Hope to see them live on stage
You can buy the album here.