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Pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Ali Jackson are three very close friends who never got around to recording as a trio until recently. They all got their start around the same time, cut their teeth with similar jazz pedigree over the years, toured the world and musically helped each other out, but Yes! is their first album together. For these three guys, this snapshot has been in the making for almost 20 years. For anyone else, it’s a jazz album. It is pure and straightforward—under-fussed and less reliant on rehearsal—safe, secure and obfuscating what Duke Ellington referred to as “the sound of surprise” (his definition of jazz). The source material here, outside of Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy,” is a touch adventurous, considering Goldberg, Avital and Jackson drew upon their own compositions alongside works from the likes of Abdullah Ibrahim and Eli Degibri. They score a “Yes!” for telepathic interplay, but a gingerly-raised thumb for the overall listening experience. File under: friendship posterity.

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