Mikolaj Trzaska / Paul Dunmall: London, England, October 15, 2012
Brice's purposeful pizzicato provided fluid counterpoint to the saxophonist's cries. At times he exploited the physicality of the strings, letting them thwack against the fretboard to augment the percussive layers in the ebb and flow. But he also indulged in investigation of light and shade, especially with Sanders, unsheathing his bow for some slashing harmonics drawn from the open strings both above and below the bridge, along with more abrasive sawing. Sanders periodically echoed the bassist's bowed squeals, scraping his sticks across his cymbals to create confluences, binding and deepening their flowing improvisation.
In this company, the drummer utilized his full dynamic range, interpolating choppy silence into the collective outbursts. His search for unusual but apposite textures saw him call upon all manner of techniques. Particularly impressive was one section when he used his hand to attenuate the hiss of his ride cymbal without disrupting his flow, even when in full spate. Also noteworthy-at a quieter juncture he placed un-tethered cymbals on his drum heads and drew a litany of striking resonances from them by varying the pressure from his sticks.
When Sanders' bass drum pedal needed repair, Brice and Trzaska filled the gap by opening the second piece with a mercurial duet which gradually moved towards the extremes. The reedman interpolated breath sounds, snuffles and vocal murmurs amid the saxophone blurts. Once Sanders rejoined, the Pole stepped metaphorically into the background by adopting an insistent phrase, while the two Englishman enjoyed a splendid rhythmic interchange. Eventually Brice switched to a propulsive pizzicato which inaugurated a jazzier syntax. Trzaska strode in, working up to a white heat, speaking in tongues, before a slow cadence cooled the flames and led to the final wind down of a revelatory outing.
For the last portion of the evening, Dunmall strapped on his tenor saxophone and joined the threesome for incendiary four-way rapture. Though this was the first time the Englishman had encountered his European counterpart, it was near impossible to discern a lack of familiarity. Both horns phrased in unison, pausing for air at the same time, intertwining and embellishing. Dunmall launched into a fluent spiraling excursion, punctuated by his trademark explosive guttural hollers. As he hit upon a meaty hook, Trzaska plunged in on alto, paraphrasing and rabble-rousing, before allowing the Englishman to continue alone. After Dunmall subsided, the Pole took over in frenetic oratory until both horn men united for an a cappella flight. The interplay between the saxophones (and once, fleetingly, Trzaska's metal clarinet), formed the focal point of the set, as each shifted instantaneously between quarrel and affirmation.
Three excellent sets. However, sometimes it seems more is actually less. The addition of the second horn resulted in less potential for the spacious explorations which had been such a winning trait of the trio. That's not to say that the quartet wasn't an absorbing and exciting event. It was. But rather it served to highlight even more the spellbinding nature of the Riverloam Trio.
All Photos: John Sharpe