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122

Freedom of Assembly: Freedom of Assembly

Derek Taylor By

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Light on liner notes, but rife with quiet timbres and subtle shadings this disc is a ruminative feast. I had not heard of these three players before listening to this release but their work here left me wanting to hear more. That is perhaps the greatest praise possible when it comes to evaluating music. Their winsome approach is one of open-ended improvisation within a congruously swinging framework. Taking into account his instrument and the trio format Seager might be assumed to be the leader, but the music itself reveals that the three take their name seriously favoring a equitable interplay that dispenses with the need for such designations.

The sonic clarity of recording is astounding and adds significantly to the romantic insouciance of the players’ interactions. Mugavero’s swishing brushes and deft cymbal accents are always audible alongside Donchev’s understated bass lines. Both men work in careful concert with Seager, and the three together alternate between the polished traditional swing of “I Got It Bad” and the at times abstract interplay of “Free Lunch” with easy facility. Of the three I was most struck by Mugavero. Possessing a weightless touch on his traps with both sticks and fingers he produces all sorts of rhythmic tensions without ever resorting to bombast or excess. His ethereal patterns provide the perfect complimentary prodding for his peers. It’s uncommon to find a group that can effectively balance a robust interest in ‘outside’ playing with an equal appreciation for more ‘inside’ expression, but these three musicians manage to do so while at the same time preserving an evocative sense of uncertainty. Listeners looking for a fresh take on the time-tested piano trio tradition will find a great number of pleasant surprises on this disc.


Track Listing: Preamble/ Public Ptomaine/ Warp and Woof/ I Got It Bad (and that ain

Personnel: Bert Seager- piano; George Donchev- bass; Nat Mugavero- drums.

Title: Freedom of Assembly | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Buzz Records

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