Even if Gordon Grdina does not release another album in 2022, the year should be considered as the time when it all came together for the Vancouver-based guitarist and oud-ist. Oddly Enough: The Music Of Tim Berne, Night's Quietest Hour and Pathways, all on Attaboygirl Records, were released in the first six month of 2022a productive time. Add to that Boiling Point, the second outing by Gordon Grdina's Nomad Trio.
Grdina's artistry is hard to pin down. Free jazz, avant-garde, mainstream with Eastern leanings? Or something unique, an artistic voice which has gelled into a compelling sound? Boiling Point brings pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Jim Black into Grdina's collaborative world for a second recording. It is a trio with a cohesive mindset: Mitchell is a long-time member of saxophonist Tim Berne's Snakeoil and, like Grdina, he has also released a solo album of Tim Berne tunes. Jim Black, a pound-down-the-walls drummer who rolls to the left of center, has recorded with everyone from pianist Satoko Fujii to trumpeter Dave Douglas, guitarist Nels Cline and his own AlaxisNoAxis group.
Boiling Point is a mix that takes on Grdina's wild-ride compositions with a bold and fiercely adventurous style. It features complex three-way interplay and hard rock power trading places with spaciousness and dense, electrified textures. Gentle and contemplative? At times, as on "Shibuya." Full frontal, go-for-the-throat attack modes? Yes, more often than not.
It is a conglomerate sound, bigger than one might expect from a trio. It often carries a big chip on its shoulder. Compositionally, instrumentally, conceptually and attitude-wise, it says that Grdina deserves a spot as one of today's top guitarists and jazz artists.
Boiling Point; Parksville; Shibuya; Cali-lacs; Koen Dori; All Caps.
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