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When drummer Harvey Sorgen met saxophonist Remi Álvarez at the International Musicians Meeting in Monterey, Mexico, he was "taken by his sound, feel and humanity." This is not surprising. Álvarez has cut a wide swath both on record and in live performances as an adventurer who is not afraid to take risks without losing focus. Sorgen, who has blazed his own trail adding to the dynamics with his sense of rhythm and pulse and abetting the music of vibraphonist/pianist Karl Berger, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and trumpeter Herb Robertson among others, recognized a kindred soul. As for Joe Fonda, the bass virtuoso has the stylistic flexibility to build robust lines or fragment them and skitter around and into the path of the soloist to elevate a composition.
Álvarez is the centrifugal force, bringing crisp intensity and sweetness in equal measure. He is trenchant, cutting deep into "Dancing With the Forest" with phrases that jump and curl seeking a groove and then dispensing with it to create an array of effects. Sorgen steps up to the complexity with a broad spectrum of color that melds into the saxophone while Fonda infuses rumbling lines to give the triangle congruent shape.
The pastoral "Talachas" offers contrast with its lyrical air. Álvarez leans into the melody, his flute dipping into the nuances to flesh the body. His arcs and swoops impact, and when his trajectory gets more pronounced on the swell of improvisation the effect is dynamic.
"Falling Up The Stairs" opens as a warm coaxing ballad on the tenor saxophone, with Fonda's bass cleaving to the melodic line as Álvarez continues his forlorn cry. The understatement works, particularly with the rhythm section keeping the bottom ticking right through the churning angularity that Álvarez brings in to complete his journey.
Each member of the trio is integral to the whole as concept becomes reality and the search for the unusual is met with expectancy and fulfillment.
Track Listing: Dancing With the Forest; Falling up the Stairs; Ofrenda; Arriving at Cariddi; Verge; Talachas; Entropy; Tower; Responsibility of Desire; Our Friend Kevin; In the Shadows; Tepache.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.