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Arild Andersen/Paolo Vinaccia/Tommy Smith: In-House Science

Karl Ackermann By

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Arild Andersen's superb trio with tenor saxophonist Tommy Smith and drummer Paolo Vinaccia had previously released two ECM albums, Live at Belleville (2008), and Mira (2014). Smith and Andersen joined the saxophonist's frequent collaborators, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra for Celebration (2015) which included "Independency, Pt. 4" from Belleville. In-House Science is the second live album from the trio.

Andersen's long career began in the late 1960s jumping right to well established artists such as George Russell, Don Cherry, Phil Woods, Dexter Gordon and Tomasz Stanko. With more than twenty leader dates—the majority with ECM—he has also been a sideman on some pivotal releases with Terje Rypdal, Bobo Stenson, Jan Garbarek and Bill Frisell. Smith is something of a prodigy having worked with Gary Burton, Steve Swallow and Adam Nussbaum while still a teenager. He went on to a Blue Note contract playing with Tommy Flanagan and Chick Corea and earning a well-deserved reputation as one of the best tenor players in the UK. Italian born percussionist/composer Paolo Vinaccia has resided in Norway for almost forty years. He has recorded on more than one-hundred albums working with Rypdal, Palle Mikkelborg, Mike Mainieri and Jon Christensen to name just a few.

The music on In-House Science reverts to the amalgam of buoyant and shadowy moods that defined this trio's debut. The opener is a version of Mira's title track, extended over the original length and a bit darker, bar a fiery mid-song burst from Smith. The longest, most freely played piece, "Science" features exhilarating, fast-paced solos and an extended duet between Andersen and Vinaccia. "North of the Northwind" is an atmospheric composition; the moody bowed bass and saxophone melding, breaking off and patiently building in intensity. "Blussy" is another Mira selection, again stretched out from the original. "Inhouse" closes the set; another opportunity for extended solos but especially spotlighting the musicality of Vinaccia.

Over his fifty year recording career, Andersen has shown his ability to excel across a wide range of styles, from the raw edginess of Jan Garbarek's Esoteric Circle (Flying Ducthman, 1969) to the spare, avant-garde Ancient Land, New Territory (Shipwrecords, 2015) with percussionist Jonas Howden Sjøvaag, and Carsten Dahl's eclectic piano trio on Under the Rainbow (Storyville, 2013). Throughout the dissimilar array of music, Andersen's beefy, distinct bass can be a deep, woody anchor or an airborne provocateur. The difficult sax trio formation benefits greatly from Smith's own versatility. He moves from long, fluid lines to pointed, prickling sketches, making the saxophone speak in tongues and keeping the dialog with Andersen moving forward. In-House Science is the best of this trio to date.

Track Listing

Mira; Science; Venice; North of The Northwind; Blussy; Inhouse.


Arild Andersen: double-bass; Paolo Vinaccia: drums; Tommy Smith: tenor saxophone.

Album information

Title: In-House Science | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: ECM Records



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