Pianist Mika Pohjola, bassist Dan Loomis and drummer Kyle Struve played 2005-09 on a weekly basis in Pohjola's studio on East 14th Street in Manhattan. The trio specialized in exploring improvisational concepts based on the framework and form of jazz standards. And this outing, recorded in early 2007, is precisely that: Jazz standards and explorations beyond.
The first four tracks, consisted of Con Alma by Dizzy Gillespie, Conception by George Shearing, In Your Own Sweet Way by Dave Brubeck and Prelude To A Kiss by Duke Ellington, are all one-take recordings, with no edits or even breaks in-between. The last two, Turn Out The Stars by Bill Evans, and I'm Glad There Is You by Jimmy Dorsey, are also played consecutively, about two months later. The setlist was decided on the recording days, and no pre-planning, rehearsal or arrangement of the songs were made.
This recording breathes spontaneity from start to finish. A mood, as most often set in an introduction by Pohjola, is confirmed with sonorities by Struve and a constructive scheme by Loomis. Then the adventure wanders from place to place never ending where it started. This is especially true for the daring Turn Out The Stars, originally a ballad, where in this version the melody is only hinted towards the end.
The musical sound of Trio Hour is a result of frequent playing by this formation, during which the confidence in the unknown have found its space and shape, to be printed in fresh renditions on tape on these two recording days.
"This album presents him with a chance to stand up and be counted as one of the most gifted jazz pianists of his generation. Playing in the Bill Evans tradition, Pohjola constructs gently swinging, melodic improvisations that are sheer delight; thought- provoking and adventurous. What's on offer is 50 minutes of great music, recorded in two sessions, with no second takes and no over- dubbing. Just creativity of the highest order. Surely, this - if anything - is what jazz is all about. It's to be hoped the trio will get back together again soon."
-Chris Mosey, All About Jazz