The secret recipe for a great free jazz recording is to develop and maintain the energy systems of your particular ensemble. The ingredients are, of course, first class improvisers and most importantly those musicians must be willing to collaborate.
The recipe seems obvious, but quite often the sum of the parts, when creating music from nothing, doesn't add up to a unified whole.
No need to worry when the improvisers are world class and unselfish musicians like saxophonist Mars Williams, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and drummer Tim Daisy. Each a leader in his own right, but their supporting roles give us clues as to their compatibility. Williams, besides leading the Liquid Soul, perhaps the best party band in the land, has recorded recently with Harrison Bankhead, Boneshaker (with Kent Kessler and Paal Nilsson-Love), and Raoul Björkenheim's Scorch Trio. He recorded one of the finest free jazz duets of the 1990s Cingale (Eighth Day Music, 1996) with Dave Rempis' Percussion Ensemble, and Circulasione Totale Orchestra. Likewise Daisy can be heard in various ensembles of Vandermark, Rempis, Klang, and Aram Shelton.
Recorded live at Festival Artacts in St. Johann in Tirol, Austria 2012, the stellar sound adds to the momentum of this trio. The title track, all twenty-four minutes, blasts forth with Williams' tenor over the pulse of Haker-Flåten and Daisy's frenetic drumming. Perhaps played as a call to arms, Williams plays to seeming exhaustion only to have Haker-Flåten shoulder the load with his dexterous solo. Each player is game to keeping the energy levels high.
"Galactic Ballet" begins with Daisy exploring the various pieces and parts of his drum kit. Incorporating found objects, bells, and tiny cymbals, the drummer draws attention into a more intimate sound here. The bassist enters in tandem with Daisy, reverberating a series of vibrating strings as a call to Williams to intone his snaking saxophone lines into the mix, sounding not unlike a chanting Evan Parker.
Haker-Flåten's bow opens the final track, rubbing a whistling sound that invites Daisy to swirl sticks on cymbals and Williams to blow into toys. Where the drive of the title track is the saxophonist, here the center is the bass, and the collaboration is no less dynamic.
Moments Form; Galactic Ballet; A Disjointed Stutter.
Mars Williams: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, toys;
Flaten: double bass; Tim Daisy: drums, percussion.
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