I imagine the tracks for the inaugural meeting between these improvising musicians are presented to us in the order they were recorded. I say that because the music gives the impression it is undergoing the process of refinement as the recording progresses. Perhaps, as each of the individual tracks progresses.
But, like the musicians, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Let's credit whomever suggested this trio recording. Sometimes it is the right time for a certain chemistry or fellowship to happen. These three artists have worked in varying lineups, but never all together. Pianist Sylvie Courvoisier
teamed up with trumpeter Nate Wooley
for his Battle Pieces
(Relative Pitch, 2015) and with drummer Chris Corsano
during Ken Vandermark
's 2016 Stone Residency (along with Ingrid Laubrock
). Corsano has contributed to Wooley's Seven Storey Mountain projects and the two are members of the trio Icepick with Ingebrigt Håker Flaten
But is it jazz? Absolutely not, and certainly yes. You wouldn't call Corsano a jazz drummer. He wouldn't recognize a ching-cha-cha-ching rhythm if it was summoned. He comes more from the DIY hardcore free school and his early apprenticeship with firebrand Paul Flaherty
and more recently Joe McPhee
. Same for Wooley, who like Peter Evans
, is redefining the sound of the trumpet. Pairing Wooley and Corsano with Courvoisier creates additional possibilities of improvisation. The nearly 21-minute opening track "Salt Task" begins to some extent with a shuffling of the musical deck. Each player arranging and rearranging sounds. Spilled notes bump up against harmonic runs and as things settle, a common language occurs. Wooley's architectural gymnastics pair with Courvoisier's thunderous rumbling and Corsano's cymbal accents. As things fall apart, the sound falls together, collecting a similarity of disparity.
By the ultimate piece, "Stalled Talks," the trio's language (or at least dialect) is complete. The strummed insides of the piano become rivers for Wooley to cross as a muttering bear and a plaintive hawk, while Corsano pans for gold with his brushwork. The atmospherics established by the trio have crystallized into an admirable exploit.