370

Borah Bergman Trio: Luminescence

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Borah Bergman Trio: Luminescence The piano-bass-drums trio has become such a staple of jazz recording that it must be difficult for any trio to come up with something fresh. Borah Bergman and his crew accomplish this task, and whilst their work lacks the compositional integrity of the holy trinity of Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols, and Andrew Hill, there's enough substance here to allay fears of cocktail lounge anonymity.

Bergman has technique to spare but it's to his credit that he's not in the business of applying it to the maximum all the time. Truth is, one of the elements that contribute greatly to the individuality of the music is the fact that he uses it so sparingly. The opening "Quantum" is a case in point. Bergman invests his lines with a slightly faltering quality that's an antidote to surface finesse. The bass and drums of Greg Cohen and Kenny Wollesen dance around Bergman's lines, subverting the idea of the piano as leading even while their contributions make for a highly organic whole.

The similarly dark hues of the following "Candela" are leavened somewhat by Wollesen's cymbal washes, although he deploys them in such a way that they're more than the stuff of mere coloration. Instead they contribute to the music's momentum and at around the two and a half minute mark, the group coalesces in a manner that's a subtle joy to hear. Again Bergman uses veiled repetition as a means of expression and the effect of momentum beneath a surface of suspended time is achieved with aplomb.

Producer John Zorn guests on alto sax on the lengthy "Luma," and although his presence is not unwelcome, his work seems somehow surplus to requirements. The fact that it seems this way is a tribute to how well integrated the trio is. As an accompanist Bergman is indeed somehow akin to Hill, the semi-static nature of his work coming on like an alternative voice, even while Zorn makes full use of angular phrasing to make an impression.

The exquisite ennui of much of the program is replicated in the closing—and indeed tellingly titled—"Opacity" where the momentum generated by Wollesen is flagrantly subverted by his band mates. Cohen's bass comes as close as anything to something melodic, but again the underlying impression is of disparate shards of music, as encapsulated by each player in turn, coalescing in a manner that can only be described as greater than the sum of the parts, especially in view of the music's cumulative effect.


Track Listing: Quantum; Candela; Parallax; Scattering; Luma; Opacity.

Personnel: Borah Bergman: piano; Greg Cohen: bass; Kenny Wollesen: drums; John Zorn: alto sax (5).

Title: Luminescence | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Tzadik


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Godspeed" CD/LP/Track Review Godspeed
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Two Calls" CD/LP/Track Review Two Calls
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "My Tongue Crumbles After" CD/LP/Track Review My Tongue Crumbles After
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Little Steps" CD/LP/Track Review Little Steps
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Cuts" CD/LP/Track Review Cuts
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 5, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.