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Dan Atkinson and the folks at Athenaeum Jazz kicked off their Fall Series of concerts at TSRI on Sept. 25 with a bang, featuring the Larry Goldings Trio with Peter Bernstein on guitar and Bill Stewart on drums.

Opening with "Mixed Message," Goldings pulled soulful chords that wafted into the hall while Bernstein slid into blue-notes over the concise drive of Stewart's ride cymbal. Layering atop the lugubrious tempo, the leader unwound with super-long and connected ideas. Bernstein responded by stringing together short phrases joined in blues connectivity. Stewart exploded with energy -- there is magic in the motion of his sticks, and he seemed to magnetize the orbits of his associates.

A short, swinging a cappella organ intro fueled by left-hand bass and the phased spirals of dual-Leslie's launched "I Never Knew," into an irresistible groove heightened by the swirl of Stewart's brushes. Bernstein broke up an otherwise constant flow of chord-toned eighth notes with dissonant intervals and Goldings pushed forward with interlocked arcs of melodic shape-shifting.

Among the highlights was Bernstein's slippery ornaments on "Louisa," filled in orchestrally by a blue-haze of organ textures, and the freebop-ish burning on "Jim Jam," where all three musicians charted elliptical courses that only coalesced under the forceful clarity of Stewart's cymbal pings.

Definitely one to remember.

Photo by Till Bronner

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