Out of Argentina comes splendid entry into the piano-trio stakes. The three young protagonists, pianist Paula Shocron
, bassist Germán Lamonega and drummer Pablo Díaz
loom large on the Buenos Aires' creative music scene and have already made connections in NYC, resulting in Emptying The Self
(NendoDango Records, 2017) where William Parker
takes over the bass chair. Tensegridad
constitutes the sophomore offering from the SLD Trio and features an intriguing program containing originals from each band member, three jointly credited pieces and two off the beaten track covers.
Taking the road less travelled represents one of the group's main attributes. That applies to the covers as much as the collectives. In approaching Mal Waldron
's "Snake Out" Shocron evokes both Cecil Taylor
's clean articulation of evenly enunciated notes as well as the surging swells of McCoy Tyner
in his pomp. She does so while skating over a pulsing backdrop of chattering drums and throbbing bass. Such intensity makes the shimmering low key ending which showcases Lamonega's balance between beat and harmony all the more unexpected.
Their take on Charles Tolliver
's "Truth" is even more enigmatic, as Shocron's piano emerges full of rippling drama from a mélange of rustling, knocking and rubbing textures. Conversely some of the improvs suggest structural foundations, particularly in the staggered unison bursts which open the title cut, but also in the madcap martial gait of "Casa Rodante" which fuels mesmeric piano patterns and increasingly wayward accents. The concluding "Yeelen" adopts a more conversational outlook comprised of drum flurries, arco sighs and probing piano figures.
Even the compositions boast that delicious sense of in-between-ness where things may not be quite what they seem, which makes repeated listening a pleasure if not an obligation. Lamonega's tenderly reflective intro to his own "Vera" presages animated interplay during which a minimalist influence becomes apparent in Shocron's insistent ringing tremolos, from which individual notes stand proud to trace out a melodic line, before closing with yet more honeyed bass work. Shocron's "Connie" recalls the darting off kilter lyricism of dedicatee, late pianist Connie Crothers
, while on "Universo Tiene Sentido" she recites a poem, helpfully translated in the liners, over tinkling percussion and resonant bass.
Throughout it all the threesome carves out a singular niche in what can at times be a hectic field.