first got together under the Trio 3 moniker back in 1992, they have become, if anything, a more cohesive unit over time. Their previous release, Time Being (Intakt, 2007), was one of their strongest, with an acute group aesthetic brought to bear on a fertile blend of testing compositions and compelling open improvisations. Berne Concert boasts a similarly fruitful amalgam, with Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer
prior to the group's inception, so it is no surprise that they are readily able to absorb Schweizer into their collective embrace. What is more of a surprise is how naturally she fits in, sounding completely integrated into their soundworld. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the opening "Flow," where an exhilarating four-way dash is rendered all the more potent by her sometimes contrary, sometimes complementary contrapuntal lines, pinballing around Lake's sour-sweet alto. Fittingly as a veteran free improvisor, Schweizer features in extemporized duets with all three members, alongside compositions from each, and one collective improvisation in the hour-long program.
Cyrille's "Aubade" amply demonstrates the quartet's listening skills and the high quality group interaction which results. Everyone wields equal weight in an extended, spaciously lyrical exploration, where flurries of sound hang in delicious suspension, until they finally come together in a glorious theme statement. Other high points are the quick-witted duet "Phrases" where Lake and Schweizer morph from sanctified to rumbustuous to thunderous to puckish in just over five minutes; and the supercharged encore "WSLC" with Cyrille's polyrhythmic tumble, Schweizer essaying contrapuntal lines in each hand and Workman's grainy arco scrapes corralling Lake's pinched squeals and vocalized split tones. Trio 3 is sure to find new fans with Berne Concert: not a single track on this outstanding disc is less than stellar.
Track Listing: Flow; R. I. Exchange; Aubade; Phrases; Ballad of the Silf; Timbral Interplay; WSLC.
Personnel: Irene Schweizer: piano; Reggie Workman: bass; Andrew Cyrille: drums; Oliver Lake: alto saxophone.