Joy Luck, featuring Peter Erskine on drums, Vardan Ovsepian on piano, and Damian Erskine on bass is a beautiful CD. I’m always a bit torn about using the adjective “beautiful”, for a few reasons, so let me ease my conscience of that word choice with a couple of quick definitions.
Beautiful: A) having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction. B) Excellent of its kind. C) A characteristic or idea that provides a perpetual experience of pleasure with meaning. These thoughts characterize the magic of this CD. The compositions, the musicianship, the interplay on Joy Luck, for me, totally embrace these definitions/descriptions I’ve just presented…so, beautiful it is.
The other strength of this CD centers on the fact that its musical relevance is not dependent on any particular tunes, or someone’s playing, or the improvisation offered, but the blend of all these elements harmoniously creating a great listening experience. Vardan’s compositional prowess and playing are second to none. Peter’s rhythmic contributions are nothing less than an education in “color”. Damian’s electric contributions on what would typically be an acoustic setting are notably strong. Taste, touch, and improvisational elegance bring his voice meaningfully to this project. No problem recommending this one.