Max Huberdeau Trio: Incandescent Anomalies

Featuring Jamison Ko and Dan Howard, playing originals with Chick Corea & Aaron Parks’ fire

Max Huberdeau Trio: Incandescent Anomalies
L-R: Dan Howard, Max Huberdeau, Jamison Ko

Max Huberdeau’s first release is a trio album called Incandescent Anomalies with Jamison Ko on drums and Dan Howard on bass. He announced it in early 2024 after putting it on Bandcamp around Christmastime.

Max is on piano here; he also plays drums. His original tune "Sub Rosa" was previously released in a YouTube video recorded at the Banff Centre in December 2021. The rest of the tracks are also his originals, with the exception of the ballad "Horizon" credited to Dan Howard – I've heard Dan play this tune on his own gigs.

The last track "Goblin Doors" is the only other one familiar to me. Max has been playing a lot in 2024, ringing in the new year for Frankie's After Dark and playing a quartet gig for the 8:00 PM show later in January. He's also a Jazz House regular, and this trio is one that you could have heard there on a Friday night.

Max and Dan have plenty of history completing other people's bands, like guitarist Joel Faulkner (in that case Max on drums, playing with Dan on bass). There was a late set at Frankie's billed as the Dandards trio: Dan on bass, Max on piano, and Joe Poole on drums. And he, Dan and Arvind Ramdas have backed up even more folks, from trumpeter Chris Davis to guitarist Andrew Skepasts. One more for the road: this very trio met accordionist Taras Luka at Tyrant Studios as the Taras Luka Quartet.

You can hear the chemistry that these three have built on every track. It's the sparkle of this project, the ingredient I suspect will draw people back to check it out in the future.

This album doesn't feature a lot of swing, other than some intense "Speak No Evil" style timefeel amid the 15/8 groove of "Goblin Doors". "Sub Rosa" has an odd meter right off the top.

The influences of Chick Corea and Aaron Parks are on display. It's a brew of Now He Sings, Now He Sobs Chick Corea intensity, the plaintive moments of Aaron Parks’ Little Big, and the fire of the seminal just-before-covid blast of our own Jamie Lee Trio.

The space at Brentwood comes alive when they play loud. It's compressed, sure, but it does wash over you like it would in the room. Ardeshir Pourkeramati is recording, just like he did with Nick Leffler's album. He adeptly captures the musician's real sounds; his bass sound is honest and unimposing, which is a good match for Dan as a supportive bass player. Max, with his dual pianist and drummer sensibilities, gives the bass player a lot of love. Jamison is more the anchor of each arrangement, humming away in the background, though he does get a drum solo on one track.

Are the incandescent anomalies Max's tunes? Are they him, Dan, and Jamison – is it the audacity to just set up with friends in a church and record a fun album, laughing at how much time, money, and fuss the Juno-baiters spend to get similar results? As you can see on the album cover, Max has opened the box to possibility.

Incandescent Anomalies cover
Art: TJ Heaton

released Dec. 24, 2023 / Buy digital-only (Bandcamp) / Available on streaming