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Album Review

Michael Bisio - Kirk Knuffke - Fred Lonberg-Holm: The Art Spirit


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Michael Bisio - Kirk Knuffke - Fred Lonberg-Holm: The Art Spirit
If you thought Requiem For A New York Slice (Iluso Records, 2019) from bassist Michael Bisio, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm was a one-off recording, you were mistaken, and thankfully so. Interestingly enough, The Art Spirit was actually recorded a couple weeks before Requiem and it is the continuation of a beautiful relationship begun with the Bisio-Knuffke duo session Row For William O. (Relative Pitch Records, 2016). Housekeeping aside, these three musicians are making magic here.

Of the eight tracks, three were composed by Bisio and the others were improvised. Nevertheless, it is quite impossible to distinguish the composed from the improvised because of the simpatico nature of these musicians. Those familiar with Bisio's work with Matthew Shipp, Knuffke with Matt Wilson or Lonberg-Holm with Peter Brötzmann recognize the accommodating temperament each possesses. The best example may be the longest track, the improvised eleven-plus minutes of "Both Keys Belong To You" which matches Bisio's pizzicato bass against Lonberg-Holm's slashing cello and Knuffke's well-placed cornet melodies. The track proceeds into a swirling arco dance of the stringed instruments that push the cornetist higher and higher. Much of the music sounds as if our three travelers are approaching an entrance and each saying, "after you," "no, after you," and "I insist, after you." Highlights include "Use Them," which opens with the plaintive cry of Knuffke's cornet before an onslaught of plucked and bowed notes, and "Like Your Work As Much As" and "A Dog Likes To Gnaw A Bone," both beginning with a fluid groove before Lonberg-Holm utilizes electronics to augment his cello. While Bisio powers the trio, Knuffke's horn acts as a booster rocket.

Track Listing

Not A Souvenir Of Yesterday; r. henri; Both Keys Belong To You; Use Them; Orange Moon Yellow Field; Things Hum; Like Your Work As Much As; A Dog Likes To Gnaw A Bone.


Michael Bisio: bass, acoustic; Kirk Knuffke: cornet; Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello.

Album information

Title: The Art Spirit | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: ESP Disk

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