“Jae Sinnett’s been putting out recordings since 1986 and has fronted his own jazz trio for many years, yet Confluence, his seventh album, is the first he’s recorded in the trio format. It’s his best work yet.
“Bassist Terry Burrell and pianist Allen Farnham have accompanied Sinnett for the past seven years, playing festivals, clubs and universities with him. They were the rhythm section for the drummer’s last two recording projects. That time together as a working band pays off handsomely in the musical riches showcased on this disc.
“Confluence kicks off with a reworking of Old Devil Moon. After Farnham’s opening McCoy Tyner-like chordal statement, the first thing you notice is the extra note thrown into the melody of this well-worn standard – the trio’s laying down a fresh 5/4 time signature that is far beyond Take Five. After a one-verse statement of the theme, the pianist is off on an invigorating ride that continues in the Tyner style of fat voicings and aggressive keyboard-length runs. Man, this is hot!
“Sinnett’s drum showcase Six and Smith travels through several dimensions, always returning to its You Can’t Hurry Love bassline between and within solo workouts for piano and drums. Farnham wrote the jaunty Brother B for Burrell, and the bassist rips up his five-string when the spotlight shifts his way. The trio then shows its softer side on the chestnut, As Time Goes By, before swinging gently through the mellow Farnham original, Nairda.
“Three Sinnett compositions close the disc. The first, Theme for Jobim, tips its hat to the great Brazilian composer in ways more subtle than the title would imply, the melody hinting at familiar touchstones while the rhythm drives harder than any heard on the beach at Ipanema. Helen’s Rose is a beautiful ballad on which the threesome conjures up images of the Bill Evans Trio. Finally, the band heads Straight Around the Corner to end the show with controlled abandon.
“As always, Sinnett is generous in showing off his playing partners, and this time out Allen Farnham, in particular, is superb. The breadth of his piano playing is amazing. He locks in tightly with Sinnett and Burrell to make Confluence an impressive outing.”