Recorded in Germany, these improvisational giants align their very special talents for what may appear to be a most unusual yet largely gratifying set. The trio commences with an open-ended sequence of interlacing movements on “Tartar.” As the musicians explore microtonal sounds and subliminally constructed mini-themes. Drummer/percussionist Tony Oxley uses his darkly hued cymbals for accents, while pianist Fred Van Hove and multi-reedman Frank Gratkowski implement parallel tonalities. The band occasionally veers off into circularly devised motifs amid manically developed discourses – where they emit a rather otherworldly and somewhat unclassifiable approach. Otherwise, the chamber-like sonic attributes of this disc elicit notions of three symphonic players, intentionally straying off course. Each piece stands on its own, as the trio also discombobulates most semblances of rhythm.
On “Witchy,” Van Hove plays the accordion atop Oxley’s rumbling tom fills and staggered beats. At times, this contrasting element presents a farcical characteristic that proves to be an asset to the ensemble’s sound and scope. With this release, the artists slam the lid on any preconceived expectations. (Recommended)
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.