SAMSOM NACEY HAINES TRIO: Open to Suggestions
By Aaron Nevezie
This trio brings together stalwarts of the Auckland jazz community; drummer Ron Samsom, guitarist Dixon Nacey and Kevin Haines on acoustic bass. As the name of the group suggests, this is a true trio outing, with each member contributing compositions and being featured equally. Guitar trio brings some unique challenges in jazz, with the lack of additional comping or melodic instruments and the somewhat limited dynamic of the electric guitar. The best take these disadvantages and turn them into freedoms, probably most exemplified in the Jim Hall trios. Samsom, Nacey and Haines build on this type of approach by using the trio as a starting point to explore different configurations of instruments and roles. The album is a mixture of standards, originals and contemporary compositions tightly arranged and performed, all three sounding empathetic and creative. At points, the tightness of the arrangements seem to hold back the possibilities that peak out during some of the intros and outros. Samsom could start a little more fire under Nacey’s solos to see what fun he could stir up, and increase the conversational component of the trio. He does a fine job of colouring and supporting the other players, and also is the composer of the record’s beautiful title track. Haines is, as ever, eloquent and to the point, and Nacey has some wonderful reharmonisations on the standard tunes. While a fantastic first record, this trio is scratching the surface of their collective abilities, and it will be more exciting to hear where they progress to next.