Wednesday 24 January 2024

'The Absent (10th Anniversary Remaster)' by Emily Francis Trio

Commemorating their tenth year together, the Emily Francis Trio raise a glass to what was their formal full-length introduction back in 2015 - the release of their debut album, 'The Absent'.

An exquisite piece of work that is now seeing its remastered version pressed on to limited edition vinyl for the first time and, frankly, an album that is an absolute joy to revisit after all this time.  Led by pianist Emily Francis, alongside Trevor Boxall on bass and original Trio drummer Liam Waugh, Francis' vision for her music generated a sensational release that was warmly embraced and would ultimately pave the way for its three members to further establish themselves as burgeoning solo artists and collaborators in their own right.  

And it's also exciting to regard the Trio in terms of where they have since taken their music since 'The Absent' was initially bestowed upon listeners first-time round.  While the album already showcased a versatile and all-encompassing approach to contemporary jazz, their subsequent full-length release, 'LUMA', has masterfully sought to build upon that framework with compositions and performances taking bigger and bolder risks as the music embraces styles from a variety of additional sources.  

Citing the works of Donny McCaslin, Genesis, Herbie Hancock and Avishai Cohen as strong inspirations, 'LUMA' - which would eventually arrive seven years after 'The Absent' - proudly demonstrated Emily Francis Trio's willingness to showcase these influences and display their collective growth and evolution as a unit.  Also serving as the debut of new Trio drummer, Jamie Murray, their sophomore album proved a fantastic project bolstered by tracks including 'Le Tambour, 2.00am', 'Broken Kingdom pt1', 'The Kite & The Crow' and '2 Bed Flat on Mars' which each burst with personality and imagination that elevated the Emily Francis Trio on to a whole new plateau.

And while Francis, Boxall and Murray continue to outline a framework for their music going forward, there is still so much to gain from taking those moments to look back and acknowledge the path that has brought you to where you are.  The re-release of 'The Absent' acknowledges the staggering achievement of ten years within the business which sees the trio's members continue to grow from strength to strength.  Even at the time of this writing, the Emily Francis Trio have a nationwide tour planned which sees them with performances lined up for London's revered Ronnie Scott's as well as at prestigious venues from Nottingham, Devon, Belfast and others.  

Should the release of 'The Absent' have initially passed you by then the re-release is certainly an opportunity to embrace - a remarkable album with highlights including the self-contained eight-minute marvel of the album's title track, the undeniable 70's jazz-funk groove of 'Trunk' and the elegant pacing of 'Winnebago'.  

We'd certainly like to offer our own congratulations to the Emily Francis Trio for reaching such a milestone in their career.  They say the longest journey has to start with a single step and although their collective journey is in fact far from over, it's still a wonderful thing to cling to the importance of that auspicious first step and to allow yourself the overlooked luxury of basking in your own sunshine.

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