By Michael J. West | Published December 2019
The head-to-toe, blues-less lyricism that Greek bassist Petros Klampanis and his trio evince on Irrationalities places them in the company of a lot of 21st-century piano trios, especially those based in Europe. The distinguishing factor in Klampanis’ work is that his bass is as upfront and lyrical as the piano—unfortunately.
Let there be no doubt that Kristjan Randalu is a highly adroit and sensitive pianist who handles intricate, highly linear melodies, as on “Easy Come Easy Go” and the title track, with ease. But he rarely handles them alone. On both, Klampanis doubles him on the melody (and frequently on the pianist’s bass lines), takes a prominent and fruitful solo, and makes himself an unmistakable presence in comping Randalu. These are, if anything, the median of Klampanis’ insistence on his own importance. “Thalassa Platia” finds him stating the melody himself, then making ostentatious display of his own (yes, admittedly gorgeous) tone and articulation when he should be supporting the pianist.
Drummer Bodek Janke isn’t alone in the role of rhythmic support; Klampanis does that, too. But it does leave him in a surprisingly (for a drummer) subtle position. It is Janke who is more felt than heard; even with the pianist laying out on “Temporary Secret II,” Janke functions nearly subliminally and his occasional bursts of technique—a shuffle on the piano solos of “Easy Come Easy Go,” some sly statements around the edges of “No Becomes Yes”—are the happy surprises. Irrationalities is certainly an effective showpiece for Klampanis’ ability as a bassist, but he could stand to learn from his drummer’s example of taste.
Irrationalities: Easy Come Easy Go; Seeing You Behind My Eyes; Temporary Secret III; Irrationality; Thalassa Platia; Temporary Secret II; No Becomes Yes; Blame It On My Youth. (40:09)
Personnel: Petros Klampanis, bass, vocals, glockenspiel; Kristjan Randalu, piano; Bodek Janke, drums, percussion.