Nick Moran, The Messenger (CAP). I mentioned Moran’s guitar playing nearly two years ago in one of the first Rifftides postings. The piece was about a visit to The Garage in New York’s Greenwich Village. It included this observation:
Moran is a good young guitarist with a lyrical bebop bent and an alert harmonic faculty. He would benefit from self-editing, but it’s a rare young improviser who would not.
Perhaps because the occasion is a recording, not a jazz club performance, Moran’s solos here are shorter and crisper. It is good to hear him again with Ed Withrington. In this case, however, Withrington’s keyboard is a Hammond B-3, giving the group the fashionable organ trio sound but less of the crisp interplay with Moran that I heard when Withrington was on piano and the group had a bassist at The Garage. Withrington supplies bass lines with his foot pedal. Drummer Andy Watson has a chattery style and a nice feel for snare and cymbal accents.
The repertoire is nine pieces by Moran. Combined with the instrumentation, the uniformity of compositional style produces a restful, if moderately enervating, listening experience. That may be precisely what Moran was aiming for, but this listener would have welcomed relief in pace and atmosphere, perhaps by way of a familiar standard or two or more of the adventurousness the group displays in the final track, “Shorter Steps.”
I’ll be following Moran’s development with interest.