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Trio of Uncertainty: Unlocked (2008)

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Trio of Uncertainty: Unlocked No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Trio of Uncertainty, which is Quintet of Uncertainty minus the reeds and percussion, plays its music on violin, cello and piano without amplification or other electronics—a comparatively rare phenomenon for improvised music these days. Certainly it will be the unadorned sound of the trio plus their musical syntax that immediately strikes listeners, and which has the most effect on their reaction to the music. This sounds like a trio playing some mutant form of chamber music, which indeed it is.

There are frequent passages on which the three could be playing a contemporary composition rather than improvising. Largely, this is due to Satoko Fukada's classically trained violin. So, on "For This Were A Dream" she draws forth a flowing mournful melody, replete with glissandi, while pianist Veryan Weston and cellist Hannah Marshall effectively fall into the role of accompanists. "Lost Ballad & Antidote begins in a similar vein; however—crucially—midway through it morphs into an equal three-way exchange that ebbs and flows before boiling up into a climax that could be nothing but improvised.

Indeed, once one gets beyond the surface sound of the trio, the music reveals all the pleasures of great improv; the lightning-fast reflex exchanges on the all-too-brief "Hypnogogia" contrast with the far longer "Unhinged," where ideas unfold at a more deliberate (even stately) pace before accelerating to a series of rapid exchanges followed by a moving funereal finale.

Throughout, the common features are the compatibility and empathy of the players, combined with a steady flow of ideas between them. The CD's front cover photo shows a peeling door that is unbolted and ajar, revealing a dreamlike pastoral landscape beyond, which features cotton wool clouds reflected in the tranquil surface of a river. Somehow, very fitting to the mood conjured up by the music.

Track Listing: Epitome; Gutter; Unlocked; Lost Ballad & Antidote; Hypnogogia; Sweep Up; For This Were A Dream; Unhinged; Tightrope; Periodic Questioning.

Personnel: Satoko Fukuda: violin; Hannah Marshall: cello; Veryan Weston: piano.

Record Label: Emanem

Style: Modern Jazz


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