All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Moller/Balke/Lund: Trialogue


Sign in to view read count
Jon Balke has risen to attention with his large ensemble albums for ECM. His Magnetic North Orchestra and Oslo 13 bristle with a provocative mix of percussion, punchy brass sections, electronic textures and placid piano interludes. This trio date, with Danish tenor saxophonist Lars Moller and drummer Morten Lund, distills those large ensembles into a stripped down form, while losing none of the intrigue. Recorded in 1999 but not released until 2003, Trialogue documents the trio’s improvised studio meeting. The two long tracks, clocking in at over twenty minutes apiece, and one shorter one, at eight minutes, flow from winding, all-acoustic exploration and whispered ambience to electro-acoustic duels.

On most of his records, Balke amply uses synthesizers. That symbol of the electronic age has been both boon and bane for musicians. It offers an endless new sound palette, but can be a crutch for real invention, or worse, completely dominate an ensemble. Its smooth, almost plastic tones can sound like an alien presence in more traditional jazz contexts. (Witness the bizarre, but successful David S. Ware quartet album, Corridors & Parallels, where Matthew Shipp creates unsettling sonic environments with which the acoustic musicians interact.) Balke, here and on all his recordings, mines the synth’s electronic colors and possibilities with taste and imagination, and often becomes the catalyst that develops the improvisations.

Balke’s broad, hollow tones, wisps, pulsating beds, and organ effects challenge Moller and Lund to interact in new ways, most apparent on “Chapter Two” and “Three.” The addictive “Two” slithers along as a minimalist rhythm jam. Balke sets the mood with a scratching, dripping beat, a spare bass pulse and tinkling piano fragments. Moller adapts and transforms his sax into a popping, sucking, moaning percussion device, while Lund restrains the drum’s role as rhythmic front man, content with accenting and underlining the groove.

”Three” starts as a sax and synth duet, Moller blowing cascading smears of notes against Balke’s stream of squelches and solar wind swoops. Out of a low-volume thicket of distorted piano and sax squiggles, Lund builds a sludgey groove. Balke soon inserts dub-wise warbling bass, and Moller simmers behind them. Eventually Balke laces in aggressively dissonant blasts, dissolving the fabric of the beat, and paving the way for a dramatic climax.

In places Trialogue feels like a scattered collection of ideas, for the trio roams so freely from episode to episode; such inconsistency is a hallmark of freely improvised music. The focus of “Two” makes it the most successful track, but “One” and “Three” do supply more daring and more surprises.

Moller, Balke and Lund show themselves to be ultra-sensitive improvisers, and they react meaningfully to the electronic presence, generating for their instruments new roles. Improvisation is a two-way street; it can reinforce old habits, but also open new paths. Trialogue marvelously documents how spontaneous interaction pushes players in new directions.

Visit Imogena and Lars Moller on the web.

Track Listing: 1.Trialogue Chapter 1 2.Trialogue Chapter 2 3.Trialogue Chapter 3

Personnel: Lars Moller: tenor saxophone; Jon Balke: piano and keyboards; Morten Lund: drums

Title: Trialogue | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Imogena


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Plus One CD/LP/Track Review
Plus One
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Never Bet The Devil Your Head CD/LP/Track Review
Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read "Tasty Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review Tasty Tunes
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 11, 2018
Read "Setembro" CD/LP/Track Review Setembro
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "Lyn Stanley – The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Lyn Stanley – The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 2
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 12, 2017
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 7, 2017
Read "Pond Life" CD/LP/Track Review Pond Life
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "The Look Of Love: Songs Of The Sixties" CD/LP/Track Review The Look Of Love: Songs Of The Sixties
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 4, 2017