On their often pulse-quickening, wholly improvised double disc, NBT II, the intrepid No Base Trioalto saxophonist Jonathan Suazo, guitarist Gabriel Vicéns and drummer Leonardo Osuna draw on their own inner tensions and tenacity for a roiling and immersive exploration of jazz's more open-ended, less categorized, freer regions.
Picking up where 2020's cascading debut No Base Trio (Setola di Maiale) left off, NBT instigate and inhabit the shadowlands. Snatches of their native Puerto Rican folk dance roll like cumulus into ringing, jangling circular tones and sonic dexterity. Native American drum whispers hold court, fade away. Suazo's breathy flute and EWI converge and color Vicens' symmetrical motifs. It is abstraction and revelation all at once.
The trio chose not to title their compositions in order not to afford the listener any frame of reference or point of departure, (the tracks are simply listed "ST 1," "ST 2," etc, with the ST meaning Sin Titulo or untitled in English). The music expands and contracts, opens, meanders, coalesces. Notes float upon themselves, giving way to more structured works such as "ST-3" spirited by Suazo's intent spurts of alto and Osuna's ever present sense of time. The track then riffs joyfully under Vicéns' more jam band yearnings.
The earthy "ST 4" fades quietly into the anticipatory, chaotic, twenty-minute voyage of "ST 5" and, if the reasoning behind NBT's music making is not readily apparent, it becomes so here: Music created by the freedom to express and create. As displaced and uncomfortable as NBT II can be, for many wanting their music with more shape, more melody, more definition, it is an important reminder at this point in our civilizational devolution, where rights and freedoms are being unilaterally attacked and done away with, that freedom isn't just another word for nothing left to lose.
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