Valencia, with Cory Combs on bass and cello, John Hollenbeck on drums and Dan Willis on sax and clarinet, features twelve new compositions by Combs and five improvisations by the trio.
Each new composition spans far-reaching musical territories. Two tracks emulate the classic Brazilian bossa nova and choro styles, yet with a modern bent. The choro features Bay Area mandolin legend Mike Marshall as a guest artist. At other times the music hints at the masters that inspired Combs, from Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman, to Keith Jarrett and Astor Piazzolla.
Along with conscious tributes to the greats, the CD features music that is less easily relegated to one style. There are hints of tango, carnival music, avant-garde walls of noise, film-music textures and ragtime. There's even a short interlude where Combs accompanies his five-year-old niece as she talks about a dream.
Through this wide range, Combs hopes listeners get the larger picture he tried to create - a picture of a surreal inner world: dark, personal and slightly skewered, yet accessible and full of twists and turns.
The composed music was written with the other members of the trio in mind. John Hollenbeck's drumming is world renowned, having performed with a wide variety of artists, from Fred Hersch to Kenny Wheeler. His playing is always inspired and original, full of taste and spontaneity, drawing from a rich background of styles and sounds. His own compositions and ensembles lead the cutting edge of new jazz.
Dan Willis is a bandleader, saxophonist and woodwind doubler in the New York City area. He has played with Michael Brecker's Quindectet, John Abercrombie, Ben Monder along with many others. He has a forceful, melodic and sensitive approach to any instrument he plays. Capable of a wide range of sounds and styles, his playing always serves the music in surprising and inspiring ways.
One of 2006's finest slices of modern jazz...
-Phil DiPietro All About jazz
The Cory Combs Trio has created an eclectic album that comes highly recommended for its originality and its fresh appetite for a renewal of jazz’s growth.
- Cadence Magazine
The group evokes a rich atmosphere based on the interplay between Combs’ bass lines, Hollenbeck’s drumming and the lyrical saxophone playing of Willis.
- Wonderous Stories (Italy)
This is a great inside-outside sax-led trio date. The group is extremely tight and the energy is always there thanks to the forward motion provided by Hollenbeck who is up to his usual genius.
- WNUR 89.3 Chicago