ORBIT is a pun on the surnames initials of French pianist Stéphan Oliva and double bass player Sébastien Boisseau – who also co-runs the Yolk Records – and American drummer Tom Rainey International Trio. This is indeed another piano trio but with a twist. It respects the legacy of a century-old form of jazz trios but allows, and often demands its musicians to orbit each other in their very own individual paths, creating three spheres of attraction and freedom, influence and feed into the two others.
The match between the French Oliva and Boisseau and the American Rainey is hardly natural. Oliva has an eclectic taste that ranges from his own compositions to tributes to a wide variety of personalities including Bill Evans, Lennie Tristano, Paul Motian, Giacinto Scelsi, Paul Auster, Bernard Herrmann and more recently, his new reading of the pioneers of Harlem Stride. Boisseau’s aesthetics are anchored in jazz, somewhere between Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Marc Johnson and Scott Lafaro. Rainey leans towards freer regions, recently with partner, sax player Ingrid Laubrock and guitarist Mary Halvorson, but he is also a fan of piano trios and has worked before with pianists Simon Nabatov, Fred Hersch and Kenny Werner.
Oliva and Boisseau tweaked ORBIT’s repertoire specifically with Tom Rainey in mind. They played a few gigs together before recording the album at La Buissonne studios and are going to follow the release of ORBIT with more gigs. All pieces were recorded in one take in order to keep the raw, mostly improvised story-like flow. It is clear that in this collective triangular Rainey pushes Oliva and Boisseau for more urgent, muscular and risk-taking interplay, but both Oliva and Boisseau sound as they were up for this challenge. All three musicians enjoy orbiting each other on aptly-titled pieces like «Cercles», «Around Ornette» and «Spirals». In return, Rainey follows both on elegant, lyrical ballads as «Gene Tierney», titled after the American actress, and the last and most beautiful «Lonyay Utca». The most fascinating pieces is an enigmatic and dramatic interpretation of guitarist Marc Ducret’s «Inflammable» (from «Métatonal», Ayler, 2015). Ducret, by the way, collaborated before – separately – with Oliva and Rainey (in Tim Berne’s Big Satan).
Stéphan Oliva (p), Sébastien Boisseau (b), Tom Rainey (dr)