Kris Davis' Borderlands Trio at Firehouse 12

Special to the Courant

Canadian pianist Kris Davis plays in a number of configurations, piano duos, solo, quartets, an assortment of other duos, and a whole variety of trio settings. The Borderlands Trio is her project with bassist Stephen Crump and drummer Eric McPherson.

For a time Davis was exploring a kind of playing that steered clear of chordal playing, highlighting the lines and also injecting a spaciousness to her sound. Now she’s investigating harmonies and textures within the realm of orchestration a bit more. Davis can summon titanic waves of sound in an almost Cecil Taylor-ish fury, but she’s also likely to get zen-like with her silences and gaps.

The trio’s 2017 record “Asteroidea” opens with “Borderlands,” a 26-minute piece that begins with a cycling 7-beat pattern played on a prepared piano, evoking both spy-movie themes and the string quartets of Bela Bartok. From there, the music of Japanese noh dramas might come to mind, or the sinuous melodies of Wayne Shorter. Davis drops heavy percussive blocks of notes, then she powers into a frenetic overdrive of blurs, runs, clusters and riffs. By the end of the journey, a sultry deep blue haze arises.

Borderlands Trio performs at Firehouse 12, 45 Crown St., New Haven, on Dec. 7. There will be two sets: at 8:30 p.m. ($20) and 10 p.m. ($15). 203-785-0468 or firehouse12.com

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