Many times people come across a free jazz improvisation album and assume they know what it's going to sound like, but here is something that belies those preconceptions. Comprised of trumpet, alto saxophone or bass clarinet, acoustic bass, and drums, Suite for Trio +
seamlessly fuses composed sections with free improvisation to yield a haunting, understated sound that utilizes space as much as the notes played.
Opening with a short free improvisation supported by sounds resembling rocks in a water bowl, the music moves forward upon the emergence of an insistent bass clarinet hum from Mikolaj Traska, accompanied by Marcin Oles' bass. Seconds later, Jean-Luc Cappozzo smears and burps with his trumpet ultimately smoothing out into a lyrical voice. Their use of space and economy of notes combined with song like lyricism sets the stage for the flow of the rest of the set.
"N-Ju is a little more freeform at times, but it follows suit with a stark opening where Marcin Oles' gut strings sing as they come in contact with his bow, slowly opening into a duet with Capazzo. As his trumpet explores the open space of the song, Bartolmeiej Brat Oles introduces Trazska with a driving bass drum, creating a structured inside-out free-for-all sound bookended by a theme not too far from something you would hear John Zorn's Masada quartet perform.
Even the more straight-ahead or classical-influenced numbers like "Bolero Stefano hold true to a dramatic sentiment. Here Marcin Oles anchors the group with a repeating undulating figure around which the rest of the group functions, and Traska contributes one of his strongest solos on the undervalued and underutilized bass clarinet, shading the composition in a myriad of ways. Capozzo joins in for the theme at the same mid-tempo pace and the two slowly rework the statement, elongating portions here and there, essentially repeating the same figures multiple times without invoking a repetitious feel.
While everyone contributes uniquely to this cohesive group sound, the Oles brothers form the foundation and the heartbeat upon which Trazaska and Capozzo operate. Drummer Batrolemiej Brat Oles in particular is a powerhouse in this format. Like his astute and understated play in the brothers' trio set with David Murray Circles Live in Cracow
or their free jam sessions with members of the Vandermark 5 on Alchemia
, he performs with nuance and an almost folkish feel that is aligned with the hand percussion or modified kit work of Leon Parker, Hamid Drake, and Satishi Takeishi. Similarly, Marcin Oles plays with a captivating sense of confidence and vigor, never bottling up the improvisers nor backing every statement with stated or implied time.
Like any other album that relies upon interactivity and improvisation, the key to Suite for Trio +
is the musicians' ability to listen and interact in a concerted, effective manner. Neither relying on volume to make a statement or ever demanding the lead, all four players respond from moment to moment with a sense of drama and mystery amidst the dark-hued ambience the album provides.
Personnel: Jean-Luc Cappozzo: trumpet, fluegelhorn; Mikolaj Trzaska: alto saxophone, bass clarinet;
Marcin Oles: double bass; Bartlomiej Brat Oles: drums.