A new trio is born and its inaugural document, Vestiges, is a smorgasbord of free improvisation from noisy shred to minimal electronics. Made up of the Portuguese bassist Sérgio Tavares and guitarist Nuno Trocado and UK-resident saxophonist Tom Ward, the three deliver nine improvised pieces as they investigate differing approaches to instant composing. The musicians had worked together as part of Cotovelo (Carimbo Porta-Jazz, 2018), a theatre piece featuring spoken word and music. Each player has an interest in jazz, improvised music and composition.
With Vestiges, the music suggests multiple possibilities, none of which requires a single leader directing affairs. "Escalation" opens with the spatter of Trocado's electronics; next the piece bulldozes a bass-forward attack with Ward's meddling bass clarinet abuzz. With the groove in place, guitar and bass clarinet connect, not unlike the sound of the old dial-up modems made when connecting to the internet. This brief opening dives straight into " Caught Among Mirrors," Ward switching to flute for avian song and his partners deconstructing eerie electronics and vibrating bass.
The trio's experiment in sounds takes on multiple approaches. Trocado drops some in-your-face guitar (think Hedvig Mollestad or Raoul Bjorkenheim) on "Tinpot Despot," with Ward blasting saxophone licks and Tavares sawing off notes. The off-balanced bebop of "Wipe Out" spins a dizzying history of a jazz guitar trio as it smashes into the agitation of punk jazz. If you think you've got a handle on these three, just play the next track. "Chant" purrs bowed notes over drizzled guitar and elongated saxophone mewls, and "Underground Passage" maintains a growl as if it were the quieter acoustical equivalent of a Merzbow noise performance. The lengthiest piece, "Stories Old And New," begins calmly enough as a tranquil sea of notes before segueing into a gorgeous bass clarinet solo bolstered by Tavares' bass and some pulverized guitar effects. With this trio, the possibilities are endless.
Escalation; Caught Among Mirrors; Stories Old and New; Wipe Out; Chant; Underground Passage; Remnants; Problematic Regrowth; Tinpot Despot.
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