Nikki Iles – piano
Rufus Reid – double bass
Jeff Williams – drums
1 Everybody’s Song But My Own (Kenny Wheeler) 7:18
2 Meditations (Nikki Iles) 6:29
3 Nardis (Miles Davis) 6:59
4 The Glide (Ralph Towner) 6:51
5 You Must Believe in Spring (Michel Legrand)/Spring Is Here (Rodgers and Hart) 8:14
6 Hush (Nikki Iles) 5:12
7 Hi Steve (Julian Argüelles) 5:41
8 In Your Own Sweet Way (Dave Brubeck) 6:59
9. The Incense of Colour (Nikki Iles) 6:20
Dave Gelly, The Financial Times
Nikki Iles is a pianist of extraordinary imagination who thrives on fugitive melodies. In this set she takes pieces such as Kenny Wheeler’s “Everybody’s Song But My Own” and Miles Davis’s “Nardis”, which constantly slide away from the obvious, and gently teases them into sparkling new shapes. When she plays her own compositions it’s as though she is still discovering them. With her are bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Jeff Williams, two American masters who fall instinctively into her way of thinking. The art of the jazz piano trio takes many forms nowadays, but for sheer enjoyment this lucid teamwork is unsurpassed.
The Jazz Breakfast
In September 2010 British pianist Nikki Iles went into the recording studio of Tony Bennett’s son, Dae, in New Jersey, accompanied by two New York musicians she had come to know but who had never played together before: double basist Rufus Reid and drummer Jeff Williams. This album is the glorious result.Nikki is a strong composer herself, but chooses just three of her own tunes here, preferring to interpret music by Kenny Wheeler, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Ralph Towner and Julian Arguelles, as well as linking two jazz standards, Michel Legrand’s You Must Believe In Spring and Rodgers and Hart’s Spring Is Here.Iles is as strong a writer as she is a pianist, and her tunes Meditations, Hush and The Incense Of Colour provide some of the most luminous highlights.Rufus Reid has such a rich sound, you can almost hear all those club gigs, all those recording sessions in such esteemed company as Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Dorham, J J Johnson in the resonance and overtones on his low notes.Jeff Williams, who also has an impressive CV and is an increasingly familiar player in this country, plays to his strengths here, putting the accent on subtle cymbal work and some expert use of brushes.But while Reid and Williams bring depth and tons of experience to the session, it is Iles’ particular grace of tone, subtle touch and her very particular quiet rhythmic drive which make it really special.Nikki writes in the liner notes: “In recording this CD I found the kind of unforced interaction and intimacy that I love which allows for a continuous free flow of ideas.” You can certainly hear that special quality – a warm state of grace – translated from studio to your speakers.A fine Basho Records release which should bring Nikki Iles the far wider recognition she so richly deserves.
Chris Parker, The Times
‘Unforced interaction and intimacy […] which allows for a continuous free flow of ideas’ is pianist/composer Nikki Iles‘s description of the ideal modus operandi for a jazz band, and in bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Jeff Williams she has found the perfect partners to realise her dream.
Despite being one of the most accomplished of UK pianists – her tone is ravishing, her dynamic control exemplary and her solos consistently subtle and satisfying – Iles has not made a trio album since Everything I Love with the Canadian rhythm section Duncan Hopkins and Anthony Michelli (Basho, 2002); this one is well worth the decade’s wait…… she approaches everything she plays with genuine respect, her love and knowledge of the compositions imbuing her interpretations of them with intimacy and reverence, liberally laced with musical wit, elegance and grace.
Reid and Williams are a dream team, despite never having played together before, subtly probing, filling and generally embellishing an unequivocally enjoyable album, packed with delicate felicities and considered inventiveness.
Pianist and composer Nikki Iles remains one of the relatively unsung heroines of British jazz despite a highly productive career that has seen her perform with many leading British and international musicians in a variety of contexts from jazz orchestra to piano trio. Although she has recorded prolifically with others, particularly vocalist Tina May and saxophonist Martin Speake, her work as a leader is sparsely documented which ensures that this new trio release is a particularly welcome addition to her discography.