07.07.2010 / All About Jazz New York
by-the-seat-of-your- pants improvisation of the highest order
The late night show at The Ironworks featured one of Vancouver's true treasures in pianist Paul Plimley, one of the highlights in this case of the entire Festival for this correspondent since he so rarely if ever makes it out East. And his trio with Barry Guy and drummer Lucas Niggli treated listeners to by-the-seat-of-your- pants improvisation of the highest order. Plimley and Niggi resemble hyperactive kids at play on their instruments at times—they're just having SO much fun co- creating. And Guy was more often than not serving as the anchor (the surrogate parent if you will) through this kids-at-play session, which created two of the festival's most memorable sets. "I know that the three of us live very far from another but I can't help thinking I want to play with them more!" said Plimley between improvisations. The pianist is as animated a performer as they come, at times recalling Jaki Byard's eccentricities (both on and off stage), and Guy and Niggli are never too far behind. Most of their collective improvisations each set landed either around the 10- minute or pushed the 20- minute mark, allowing for the music to freely develop from a thunderous rolling snowball effect that mounded the empathetic threesome's momentum into one unrelenting instrument and wall of sound, to dispersing into thirds— Plimley commonly encouraging Niggli's playful cat-like pouncing on his kit, as if his favorite play toy was covered in cat nip!