Familiar notions of melody and structured rhythmic foundations are brushed aside throughout this splendid outing recorded to a DAT machine, two years prior to drummer John Stevens' untimely passing. Alto saxophonist Frode Gjerstad had apparently lost the tape, but he subsequently found it and cleaned it up. Fortunately, the music presented here is pristinely resurrected, much to our delight.
One of the overriding attributes of this production resides within Gjerstad’s rustling and somewhat elusive lines atop Stevens’ odd-metered slap, tap, brush and roll permutations. Guitar great Derek Bailey anchors, prods, and maintains an abstract sense of equilibrium via his amplified chop chords, undulating harmonics, and timely interjections. The trio’s often-curvaceous rendering of motifs atop unrestrained harmonic developments presents just one level of a multi-tiered program where the artists encircle rhythm while utilizing space for maneuverability.
They intersect various planes and angles, thanks to Bailey’s extended note attacks, Stevens’ polyrhythmic assaults, and Gjerstad’s applications of sublimely executed mini-themes. On “Three By Three,” the trio raises the bar some, as they pursue edgy, frenetic interplay and venture off into dissimilar yet abstractly tuneful paths. Hello Goodbye signifies a mystifying quality of enchantment and reigns as one of the finer recordings of this ilk for 2001. Strongly recommended.
Personnel: Frode Gjerstad: alto saxophone - Derek Bailey: amplified guitar - John
Stevens: percussion & mini-trumpet