Playing with an exhilaration that was contagious, bassist Charlie Haden's new trio--pianist Alan Broadbent and guest drummer Paul Motian--delivered a set at McCabe's on Friday that sometimes glided, sometimes careened between the worlds of bop, post-bop and free jazz.
In a show marked by contrasts, Broadbent's lyrical yet powerful supple-line soloing stood out against Haden's often impressionistic bass work, wherein feeling wins out over form, while Motian managed to bridge those two concepts with his most imaginative traps support.
The opening "Israel" found Broadbent bopping along, throwing out ideas that sparkled like diamonds in the light, while Haden and Motian added their unique styles of back-up. A medium-up cooker followed, and here the pianist, twisting from side to side, eyes closed, played a stunning solo where seamless, soaring lines were mixed with hot, bluesy phrases.
The ballad "Body and Soul" was highlighted by a lovely Haden improvisation in which he carefully reworked the melody, picking pretty notes. The set ended with two Ornette Coleman tunes, and these forays into free jazz, which included two mediocre Haden solos, lacked the interplay and cohesion that had made the earlier numbers so tantalizing.
Poet Michael C. Ford opened the evening, reading with quiet passion poems whose subjects included Rita Hayworth, Dorothy Dandridge, Airto Moriera and Flora Purim and almost everybody who ever played jazz drums.