Brooklyn-based Californian drummer Vijay Anderson leads an impressively cohesive trio on Studio Sessions Vol .10. In this case cohesion is a product of shared experience. Anderson's career has been intertwined with bassist Adam Lane's since 2003, and can be heard on Zero Degree Music (CIMP, 2005), New Magical Kingdom (Clean Feed, 2006),and Absolute Horizon (NoBusiness, 2013). Likewise, clarinetist Ben Goldberg has been a long-time colleague of the drummer, as evidenced by his appearances on Hard-Boiled Wonderland (Not Two, 2010) and Live At Novara Jazz Festival (Nine Winds, 2014).
In their relaxed, unhurried interplay and spontaneous generation of form, the threesome recalls William Parker's Clarinet Trio with Perry Robinson which made the wonderful Bob's Pink Cadillac (Eremite, 2002). High praise indeed. Though he does not quite have the garrulous play-anything mentality of Robinson, Goldberg's fluent full-voiced and inventive clarinet is key to the success of this date. Throughout, he unspools a series of simple motifs which he repeats, elaborates and revisits and, by so doing, he gives the music its substructure.
The Lane-Anderson tandem proves well up to the task of generating the rhythmic elements of the three-cornered latticework, to best set off Goldberg's flights, dealing in an extemporised swing which unites rhythm with melody across the seven collectively-birthed pieces. Anderson purveys a regular but shifting meter, while Lane toggles between resonant counterpoint and ferocious pulse. Among the highlights are the conversational "Improvisation #1," the languid give and take of "Improvisation #2" and the tale spinning "Improvisation #7."
"Improvisation #3" furnishes a particular high spot. It begins with tentative bluesy musings from Goldberg in consort with Lane's arco bass, entwining in an elegant chamber duet, until Anderson's martial rolls slide in behind, before moving on part march, part dirge. Goldberg preserves a cool outlook even as Anderson ups the temperature. It is a demeanour which he maintains throughout the album, only diverging slightly in a series of plunging scalar runs which emerge from overtone twisting harmonics at the very close. With a similarly clear focus, the group demonstrates that free can also be mellow, without any detriment to either feeling or integrity.
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