Jim Lewis / Andrew Downing / Jean Martin On a Short Path from Memory to Forgotten

The music on this disc is sombre, cerebral and somehow, despite the group interplay that produces it, lonely sounding. The overall feeling is low-key, like the trio chose not to drink coffee before the session. Trumpeter Jim Lewis, clearly referencing fellow Canadian Kenny Wheeler, lips up from low-end smeared notes to keening wails, creating gracefully arching shapes and shadows. Always creative drummer/producer Jean Martin paints pastel landscapes of shimmering cymbals, loping rhythms and nicely placed accents, a great environment for his cohorts to communicate and create. Bassist Andrew Downing keeps things simple with drones, slow arco lines and minimalist accompaniment patterns, with only an occasional note-y flourish. Things get declamatory on "Seven," with Lewis's trumpet shouting out a call to arms in a half-valved, Lester Bowie-ish ambit. "Eight" might be the most direct, blowing-oriented track, with articulate trumpet soloing, meaty bass lines and grooving drumming; it's more earthy and affirmative. The CD's title points out the issue here: well-performed music that hardly leaves an impression. (Barnyard)