Highly original is the fine music to be found on The Dark. EEA is a trio of a slightly unusual configuration: piano, trumpet, and sax. In the hands of these fine musicians, this combination reveals itself to be a most agreeable one indeed. The music consists of a handful of excellent originals penned by pianist Ake together with two lesser heard Ellington pieces, "Heaven" and "African Flower" together with a moody retelling of Gismonti's "Palhaço" and two group improvisations. All of the music, including the group improvisations is wonderfully rendered, and by virtue of the strong group aesthetic, almost sound as if they were composed by the same person. The mood here is essentially lyrical and introspective with an accessible tonality never too far away, despite the Free Jazz elements afoot. Ake's originals are high quality compositions and although some of the melodic and harmonic language reminds me of Shorter's more ethereal pieces from his tenure in the Miles Davis Quintet of the late ?60s (think "Sanctuary"), this is really only a tangential con nection as Ake is obviously quite in control of his own muse. Not all is dreamlike lyricism however, as the energetic and harmonically dizzying "Birthday Boy" proves. The Ellington pieces are welcome enough given the fact that they aren't "A-Train," "Sentimental Mood," or "Satin Doll" or any of the other over-recorded (though still worthy) Ellington classics but even more welcome given the respectful, yet non-hackneyed treatments EEA has recorded here. Really, I have nothing but good things to say about this excellent CD and it only seemed to improve with each re-listening?let's have more! Recommended.