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After releasing a trio of stellar recordings with pianist Craig Taborn, and drummer Gerald Cleaver, the last being Floating Islands (ILK, 2009), Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker returns with a new trio. She teams up with the Portuguese players Rodrigo Pinhero (piano) and Hernâni Faustino (double bass), best known as members of RED Trio with drummer Gabriel Ferrandini.
Like her American trio, this encounter is marked as an interactive improvisational session. A very cooperative session. Much, no, all of the music making is focused on replying to the other musician and maintaining the aggregate. A difficult task when the music is often hushed, doled out in whispers and quiet passages. The opener "Rise" is marked as a barren journey, slowly paced with notes applied always reciprocating and countering another. The music intentionally advances leaderless but tugged one direction then another in a sort of, not call-and-response, but more like response-and-response. "Upper Bound" quickens the pace with a lightning round of flashed notes, the intensity peaks with a hammering plateau of sound, and then a joyous run of notes.
Anker's command of her instruments (soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones) is exceptional. She has the full complement of sounds from overblowing to growls and at times, ineffable beauty. The attraction here though is the interaction. The longest piece at nearly 14 minutes, "Golden Spiral" begins as an instrument tuningbowed bass, upper register saxophone and the insides of piano. The piece advances, gaining energy very much like a classic Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton improvisation, capturing momentum and intensity. This trio succeeds on multiple levels.