The biggest slice of the free jazz stew is cooked up withgoing back to the beginnings of alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman's artistrya horn or two stirred in with bass and drums. The chording instrumentguitar or pianois generally optional. But when a piano sits in, the potential for sweetening the sound bounces up big time. Consider Coleman's rare outings with the piano: Colors: Live From Liepzig (Harmolodic/Verve, 1996) and the simultaneously-released Sound Museum Hidden Man and Sound Museum Three Women (Harmolodic, 1996), three of the free jazz pioneer's finest recordings (a minority opinion, perhaps, but there it is), featuring pianist Joachim Kuhn, with his deep classical background on the first disc, and the always deft and dynamic Geri Allen sitting in on the 88s on the "Sound Museum" outings.
Multiple reedman Blaise Siwula, with a background of working with the no frills, free improvisation labels, CIMP and Cadence Records, has started his own label, fittingly called No Frills Records, and on Beneath the Ritual he employs pianist Luciano Troja and bassist John Murchison to lay down a unfailingly melodic set that harkens back, in approach and mood, to 1996 Ornette Coleman. His use of clarinet, as well as the tenor and alto saxophones, adds another dimension to the sound.
The music is joyful on "Wee of the Universal Tempo" and "Shadow Dance." It is occasionally eerie: "Migration," "Softly Into the Night." And it can be quite prickly and free, but still very approachable: "When the Song Is Home" and the title tune; as well as introspective and spacious (The Challenge of the Absolute"), and it is always organically democratic as the responsive and adroit trio works out the mesmerizing, in-the-moment musical landscapes.
Softly Into The Night; Shadow Dance (if there is one); When The Song Is Home;The Challenge Is Absolute; A Garden For Delights Played Again; Beneath The Ritual; We Of The Universal Tempo: Migration; Loop Of Distinction; Light In Ascension; Challenges; If It Wasn't You.
Blaise Siwula: tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet; Luciano Trja: piano; John Murchison: bass.
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