Maya Dunietz is one of the most gifted and resourceful musicians on the Israeli alternative music scene. She plays with local alternative bands including HaBiluim and Midnight Peacocks, takes part in John Zorn's Cobra musical game, leads the avant Givo'l choir, jams in New York with such forward-thinking musicians as trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum, harpist Zeena Parkins and guitarist Mary Halverson and, in Europe, with Na Maquina Quartet, featuring drummer Steve Noble and bassist Marcio Mattos. A Mono Musical Suite For Three Manic Musicians
is her first free improv recording with Israeli comrades clarinetist Harold Rubin (also a noted painter and one of the forefathers of the Israeli small free jazz scene) and bass clarinetist Yoni Silver.
Rubin may be old enough to be Dunietz and Silver's grandfather, but this beautiful collaboration is a democratic one, very conversational in spirit and not as manic as the title promises, though still quite intense. All three have collaborated before in many musical configurations, mainly as members of the Tel Aviv Art Ensemble. Rubin is credited for the musical motives but his partners mutate and play with these ideas as if they were their own.
The trio begins with two subdued and moody pieces, demonstrating almost chamber-like interplay, but very soon tries to push the musical envelope. First, Rubin with typical short cadenzas, followed by Dunietz's soft touches on the piano that suddenly turn to percussive hammerings. Silver articulates Rubin's ideas into a more structured framework. Dunietz sometimes references boogie-woogie rhythms, and it is clear that she enjoys such musical games on "Tristo," where she leads Rubin and Silver into highly emotional and melodic interplay. The interaction of "Quadtro" is one of A Mono Musical Suite's highlights, with Rubin flowing away with a talkative improvisation while Silver, and later Dunietz, gently anchor him into a solid framework.
Sometimes the improvisation takes the shape of a crazed dance as on "Sextu," with Silver's long angular bass clarinet lines and Dunietz's percussive playing, while Rubin jumps between and tries to balance this fast piece. The conversational approach is demonstrated beautifully on "Octa," with everyone's busy and selfless interplay trying to explore further without losing each other. On the closing "Tchelet," the three musicians develop common ideas patiently, with a spare, hesitant and probing attitude that still sound intense. Hopefully this trio will continue to document future meetings.