4

Marilyn Lerner / Ken Filiano / Lou Grassi: Intention

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Marilyn Lerner / Ken Filiano / Lou Grassi: Intention
Unlike a novel, where the writer needs to pique prospective purchasers' interest with the first paragraph, the instant attention-grabbing tactic is not always possible with music, especially if it's a live recording which captures the arc of a performance. So, while the opening track of Intention by the threesome of pianist Marilyn Lerner, bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Lou Grassi clearly establishes their working methods as the points of an equilateral triangle, it only hints at the pay-off in store later in the program.

As one would expect of the fourth release by an outfit which has been a going concern since at least 2010, they possess a cohesive group identity, one in which the drum kit is not the only percussion instrument, and it is not only the piano which handles melody. A taut web of intrigue connects Lerner's dramatic amalgam of hammered keys, tripping lines and snagged notes with Grassi's uneasy clatter and chatter and Filiano's bowed swipes and wiry counterpoint. They shun written material in favor of collectively-developed escapades which might be categorized as free jazz, although there is more than a touch of improv involved at times too, such as on the wryly titled "Plink Plunk."

Filiano's unaccompanied introduction to "Eric's House," in which he toggles between knotty bouts and resonant slurs, demonstrates the articulation and imagination which has made him such a presence on the New York scene. When Lerner joins, her gleaming surge seems almost boppish, a thought affirmed by Grassi's shuffling drive. Thereafter, the cut opens out for a succession of explosive solo features, before the trio reconvenes at the close. At over fifteen minutes, it is the longest cut, and one of the highlights. Filiano also figures heavily in another peak, on "No Farewell," when, against a rattling backdrop, he uses EFX to set up a sighing arco loop against which he plucks an aching melodic variations.

The conjunction of these last two titles takes on an unintended poignancy as Eric Stern, who ran the Eric's House of Improv concert series where the album was recorded and who is thanked prominently on the sleeve, passed away in December 2019. But with its bracing sense of adventure and spontaneity, this disc suggests a vibrant legacy.

Track Listing

Intention; Metamorphosis; Plink Plunk; Eric's House; No Farewell; Cavern Of Mystery.

Personnel

Marilyn Lerner: piano; Ken Filiano: bass & EFX; Lou Grassi: drums & percussion.

Album information

Title: Intention | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Not Two Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Lost Ships
Lost Ships
Elina Duni / Rob Luft
Read Tomato Brain
Tomato Brain
The Golden Age Of Steam
Read The Clawed Stone
The Clawed Stone
John Butcher / Thomas Lehn / Matthew Shipp
Read some kind of peace
some kind of peace
Olafur Arnalds
Read Share The Wealth
Share The Wealth
The Nels Cline Singers
Read Spiracle
Spiracle
Mars Williams / Vasco Trilla

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.