Nori Jacoby / Yoni Kretzmer / Haggai Fershtman: One Afternoon (2011)
One of the points of interest of free improvisation is its autonomy. Given the lack of prearrangement, the potential for both triumph and disaster is there in equal measure, especially if the music is being recorded for posterity. One Afternoon is one of those occasions when the recording happened at just the right moment.
Any trio consisting of viola, tenor sax and drums hardly runs the risk of sounding stale, but it's the extent to which these guys defy the precedents that makes a telling difference. There's a kind of guttural, declamatory quality to Yori Kretzmer's tenor sax playing, as he shows on "Story In Two," where the contrast between his work and Nori Jacoby's astringent viola is both pronounced and telling. Kretzmer doesn't follow the precedents of either Evan Parker or Fred Anderson, and the character of his work is no mean achievement.
The agitation of "Lonely Markets" is a marked contrast. Drummer Haggai Fershtman proves himself acutely appreciative of the value of dead, untuned sounds, and his percussive hyperactivity lends an element of urgency which Kretzmer at times plays against. Where some players might have gone with the visceral flow, Kretzmer plays minimally, his lines acting as a point of reference in the tumult.
The "Six Miniatures" are aptly named. They are mostly marked by a measure of stealth, although in the case of the fifth miniature, this is tempered by an unexpectedly playful air, with Fershtman getting vaguely martial. The sequence is resolved in the last of the miniatures, with Kretzmer getting as close to the work of Lou Gare as he does at any point in the program.
"Bite Site" is at first the sound of a trio intent on irresolution, a feeling that persists even when things do get a little more heated. Jacoby falls into the groove of plucking at the music's edge as his two fellows get close to a kind of sax-drums duo which avoids the most extreme heat as if by mutual consent.
Track Listing: Arrival; Story In Two; Alternations; Cupboard Song; Lonely Markets; Six Miniatures; Bite Site; In Jerusalem; And There Is; Passacaglia.
Personnel: Nori Jacoby: viola; Yoni Kretzmer: tenor sax; Haggai Fershtman: drums.
Record Label: Kadima Collective