Sphere 's opener is the attention-grabbing "Shapeshifter," where Tuomarila plays a fast-paced contrapuntal theme with bass and drums shadowing the swirling piano. "Jord" introduces guest trumpeter Verneri Pohjola, whose dynamic contribution adds a totally new dimension of depth whilst still retaining a sense of space.
Tuomarilo's piano leads on the ruminative "Sirius," with Mats Eilertsen's plaintive pizzicato bass in close pursuit. But here the percussive element is almost imperceptible, so it's effectively a duet. "Boekloev" is unalloyed rhythmic jazz but with the benefit of both a riffy bass line and more of Pohjola's shimmering trumpet. The elegant "Unfold" again sees another virtual duet between bass and piano, but in fact Olavi Louhivuori does add some subtle, brushed drumming, the understated nature of which is crucial.
Pohjola makes one final elegiac appearance on the angular "Krakow," and in between the opening and closing melody lines, his trumpet's short stabbing notes punctuate the piece. On the finale "Celeste," Tuomarila weaves stately, bell-like lines around resonant bass and terse drums. The piano lines evolve with graceful, fluid extemporisation before gently returning to the opening theme. This is a fine and satisfying album where Tuomarila's trio seems to have coalesced into one articulate, comfortable unit.
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
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