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Blaser Ducret Bruun Trio at Hakasalmen Huvila

Blaser Ducret Bruun Trio at Hakasalmen Huvila

Courtesy Sakari Puhakka

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This trio is obviously a highly-toned, thrilling machine, as able to baffle as thrill, as they chart their different courses, moving toward a continuous mystery, while still seeming to close in on that elusive place together.
—Anthony Shaw
Blaser Ducret Bruun Trio
Hakasalmen Huvila
Finnish Tour
Helsinki
November 14, 2022

Samuel Blaser has a glittering past, with glowing reviews of his considerable career in journals from around the globe. The performance of his trio in this modest-but-elegant salon a stone's throw from Helsinki's main railway station, alongside his old accomplices Marc Ducret on guitar and Peter Braun on drums did nothing if not bolster the virtuoso reputation he has garnered.

While it is claimed that Europe has cornered the market in leading jazz trombonists (Paul Rutherford, Albert Mangelsdorff, et al), Blaser has also spent time in North America, playing with the likes of Gerry Hemingway and Russ Lossing. In Helsinki, the second stop of a whirlwind European tour, the band showed just why free jazz can be a perplexing and at the same time humorous experience. Blaser himself wields his trombone almost with abandon, jumping from lead to accompaniment and especially reveling in the spaces in between where he can explore the many acoustic overtones that the trombone offers. His sound is often garbled, and at the same time it denotes a range of timbres that get right under one's skin, positively.

French guitarist Marc Ducret has as laudable a history as his leader and despite his glowering, intense presence on stage, he played a key role in meeting Blaser's motifs and especially his timbres, matching them with multiple different guitar styles: plucking, thumping, tweaking, E-Bowing. With a minimum of added effects, every note seems to be played in a discord but also in a sequence that always suggests the possibility of resolution. Who would have thought that an electric guitar could match the raucousness or the sweep of a trombone so well?

Peter Bruun has played with these two soloists for almost 10 years, and even the collapse of one of his ride cymbals at the start of a solo seemed to suit his eclecticism. His role is complementary but frequently supplemented the dissonance rhythmically, with an out-of-phase pounding of his toms. A clutch of trio-penned and more from the two main writers were presented. The compositional credits this evening were shared by Blaser and Ducret. This trio is obviously a highly-toned, thrilling machine, as able to baffle as thrill, as they chart their different courses, moving toward a continuous mystery, while still seeming to close in on that elusive place together.

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