202

Trio Chaud: Helsinki, Finland, March 29. 2011

Anthony Shaw By

Sign in to view read count
Trio Chaud
Laulumiehet Restaurant,
Helsinki, Finland
March 29, 2011
When musicians play together, it might be assumed that they're enjoying themselves, but it's also true that playing can be a very serious business. The combination of play and pleasure is in no way inextricable, but when it occurs both phenomena take on a further strength, allowing audiences to often join in and even savor some of that spirit.
While known for his performances in North America, in the context of European free jazz, cellist Didier Petit stands as a continental colossus, having been involved since the age of 16 with the likes of Sun Ra, and Alan Silva and his Celestial Communications Orchestra. Despite 30 years of playing, he seems to have lost none of the expressive abandon that characterizes the French style. If theatricality can be distinguished from stage presence, it must be recognized as a skill within whose limits all performers should master—and, with his cello, his voice and his dramatic stage presence, too, Petit has much to teach.
While eschewing any electronic medications, all three musicians worked hard to play to the extreme ranges of their instrumentation, none less than vocalist Lucia Recio. Given that there are few means to artificially manipulate the voice (barring Peter Gabriel's trick of inhaling helium), Recio's art is to use technique to examine the boundaries, and push them as far as the night's limits can go, which here involved screeches and wails, and growls as well as pure notes, along with the spoken word (a song by Serge Gainsbourg). Drummer Edward Perraud had a box of professional toys, which played an integral role as the drum kit, producing harmonics, chimes and tones on a scale that is very rarely heard live, and which matched the extreme sounds that Recio produced, using only her vocal chords and breath control. As a group, the trio featured plenty of solo performance, but in the set songs, including Jim Morrison's "Crystal Ship," the intuitive understanding that free improvisation requires of performers was most visible—and enjoyable.

The final piece of the evening also involved the other musician on the bill, and a tradition of expression grounded in Nordic reserve. Virtuoso instrumentalist Veli Kujala joined the trio, bringing his improvisational and tonal experimentation skill on the concert accordion. A student of local guitar extremist Raoul Bjorkenheim, Kujala brings a expert's variety of touch to his instrument, matching the musicality and muscularity of the three French performers. Kujala's extended solo improvisation, earlier in the evening, had been a more contemplative piece, using tunes by Pekka Pohjola and Egberto Gismonti, which he has also recorded. In the abandon of the final joint improvisation with Trio Chaud, Kujala's typically Finnish reserve failed to conceal the fun and pleasure that a professional also feels when the playing is so rewarding.

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Frédéric Gomes at les Deux Moulins Live Reviews
Frédéric Gomes at les Deux Moulins
By Martin McFie
June 17, 2019
Read Jazzdor Berlin 2019 Live Reviews
Jazzdor Berlin 2019
By Henning Bolte
June 15, 2019
Read Eric Clapton at Wiener Stadthalle Live Reviews
Eric Clapton at Wiener Stadthalle
By Nenad Georgievski
June 15, 2019
Read Philip Glass & Philip Glass Ensemble at Malmo Live Konserthus,  Sweden Live Reviews
Philip Glass & Philip Glass Ensemble at Malmo Live Konserthus, Sweden
By Nenad Georgievski
June 15, 2019
Read Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2019 Live Reviews
Burlington Discover Jazz Festival 2019
By Doug Collette
June 14, 2019
Read Marici Saxes at the London Saxophone Festival Live Reviews
Marici Saxes at the London Saxophone Festival
By Martin McFie
June 14, 2019
Read Remi Toulon With Gilles Rea At Chez Papa Live Reviews
Remi Toulon With Gilles Rea At Chez Papa
By Martin McFie
June 11, 2019