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The initial challenge of approaching a recording by a group such as Trio Sowari is downplaying the visual aspects of improvised music. Even though music is an auditory experience, as listeners we constantly require visual confirmation of what our ears are taking in. Perhaps a DVD would fill the prescription, but then again your eyes would miss what your ears and imagination open into with the experience of Three Dances.
The headline "star" (with a small "s ) is London-based Phil Durrant. The classically trained violinist and collaborator with this likes of John Butcher, Chris Burn, Tony Wren, and Mark Sanders sheds his strings for a sampler and synthesizer. Likewise, percussionist Burkhard Beins (Phosphor, Axel Dörner, Keith Rowe, and Tony Buck) eschews typical beats; and saxophonist Bertrand Denzler doesn't produce notes so much as deliver breath.
The three tracks, adding up to 52 minutes of music, maintain a minimalist structure that constantly draws you towards the quiet. Investing you with a keen awareness of the small gestures of switches, breath, rattles and vibration. Denzler, like his contemporary Axel Dörner, is rewriting the book on wind instrument approach. He sticks to mediative breath and the musical aspects of the physical object he holds, generating sound with the body and keys of his saxophone.
While Denzler picks up on what drummers have been exploring beyond the skins of their kits, Beins has progressed into amplified percussion and resonating acoustic objects with the purpose of creating new sounds and new experiences. This recording constantly hums and rattles, gurgling with texture and feeling.
If we can conceptualize Beins and Denzler's approach, what then of Durrant's computer and effects? Surely there is no way to determine where Durrant starts and the logic board stops. We must then return to the original concept of eyes closedand ears open.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.