The trio recorded this studio date in nascent saxophonist Christoph Irniger's (Pilgrim and Cowboys from Hell, NoReduce) hometown of Zurich, Switzerland. However, the band was formed in New York as the respective artists are true jazz warriors, aligning their wares with various groups and sessions. Israeli drummer Ziv Ravitz and Los Angeles-based bassist Raffaele Bossard help elevate this outing into an atypical sphere by injecting unanticipated surprises that also equates to a highly democratic approach to the jazz trio concept.
Disparate tonalities and a largely, measured gait loom as the trio's hallmark. Irniger often takes his time from a thematic development standpoint and focuses on delivering animated storylines. With moody passages, splintered progressions and subtle hues, the musicians do render some unexpected breakouts. For example, Ravitz unleashes unwieldy patterns during the opener "Gowanus Canal," where the band alternates fractured flows with moments of temperance and a few false endings. Indeed, it's a cunning piece; however, they bump it up on "Airplane Mode" via a crisp and oscillating sequence of outbreaks, enlivened by shifting dynamics. Moreover, Irniger's soft sax lines transform into several choruses of fluidly exercised runs within the scope of a rather modest primary melody.
The artists switch between contemplative plot formation and linear trajectories along with their propensity for generating pliant rhythmic episodes. The music breathes as either Irniger or Bossard's compositions are chock full of sentiment and warmth amid a surprising amount of stark dissimilarities. They can be poignant or intertwine buoyancy into the schema. For example, "Black Pearl" is a piece that starts with rumbling drums but diminishes into a near whisper during the bridge, paralleling notions of lament, yet the rhythm section picks up the pieces and launch an off-kilter Afro-Cuban vamp leading to the finale. Nonetheless, the program is a study in transversely opposed contrasts, supplementing a set built on dense compositional outlines, marked by the musicians' persuasive interactions and razor-sharp focus. There's a lot going on under the covers, to say the least.
Track Listing: Gowanus Canal; Airplane Mode; Schattenspiel; Hello Africa (for Luca);
Black Pearl; Kanon; Burnout; The Slope (Part 1); M.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.