Joseph Jarman, Bob Wilber, Charles McPherson & Vinny Golia
The second half of March found an extensive posse of West Coast performers hitting NYC, mostly prompted by reedsman Larry Ochs getting to curate for two weeks at The Stone. Several artists also managed to book satellite gigs at other venues, including this trio showing in Gowanus, Brooklyn, by Vinny Golia. The multiple-reed specialist dwells in Los Angeles, and his other Californian cohort is drummer Weasel Walter, recently transplanted to New York. Local bassman Adam Lane replaced Damon Smith, who'd appeared on the trio's recent album.
Golia is as much known for his texturally layered compositions as for his free-form adventuring, but it was the latter mission that took hold of the threesome for this early evening set. Their improvisations didn't strike any unexpected poses, adhering to what might be expected from such a line-up. They'd range from voluble density to smattered sensitivity, then back again. Golia passed from clarinet to soprano saxophone, then baritone followed by piccolo, investigating pathways that mostly took a spiraling development, rising or descending in a logical fashion.
Walter appeared in a less devastating mode than usual, caught up in an often skeletal framework of cymbal-rubs, tiny tumblings, gong-strikes and small percussion scatterings. He made occasional extreme weight-droppings, magnifying the concentrated minimalism of certain stretches with brief explosions of emphasis. Lane was inserting cardboard or small-stick mutes between his strings, or bowing out long, mournful tones. The venue's intimate gathering heightened the aura of focused attention to sonic detail, facilitating the steady concentration of the players. The improvisations took on a character of equality, with each player maintaining a balance that served the music as a whole rather than pandering to their own ego-potentials. Not that the second possibility is always a negative choice. That just wasn't their mood on this particular night.