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Omawi: Marta Warelis / Onno Govaert / Wilbert De Joode: Waive

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Omawi: Marta Warelis / Onno Govaert / Wilbert De Joode: Waive
The familiar made remarkable by unfamiliar surroundings. That is the gist of Andy Moor's cover photo for Waive which shows a sun lounging woman apparently about to be engulfed by an enormous wave. It is also a suitable summary of what Omawi, the combined talents of Amsterdam- based Polish pianist Marta Warelis, and the Dutch pairing of drummer Onno Govaert and bassist Wilbert de Joode, deliver on Waive, the third album from a unit which cultivates a collective ethos.

For while the instrumentation suggests the hoary piano trio, the practice is something else again. Back in the lineage are the combos of Bill Evans and Paul Bley, but a more pertinent antecedent is the groundbreaking group helmed by Howard Riley and completed by Barry Guy and Tony Oxley, which released a string of recordings in the early 1970s. Omawi takes matters further out still, eschewing written charts for a seat-of-the-pants journey between three equal partners which can veer from restless timbral exchange to something slightly closer to norms, and back again in an instant.

The five cuts were recorded in October 2021 between lockdowns in the Netherlands and perhaps it is not too fanciful to detect a certain relish in the communal give and take. Everything happens in a heightened state, which translates into a nervy, edgy feel. At one point there seems to be an impatience to move things on in De Joode's urgent pizzicato on "The Space My Body Fills," but this quickly becomes just one more stage in an ongoing metamorphosis. Kinetic fluxes of energy and demeanor predominate, leading to a varied dynamic which totally upends expectation.

Occasionally one or other will come to the fore, like De Joode again with his reverberant bowed tale spinning, as maybe alluded to in the title of "Dark Little Narratives." But such episodes are fleeting. Warelis frequently catches the ear. She offers a lightly percussive approach, modifying her instrument with preparations and under the bonnet manipulations, but also generating stuttered lines, reiterated phrases and a distinctive dampened trill. Govaert at times even recalls Oxley, particularly in his application of tone color and appreciation of space.

An arc suggests itself from the and deep interlaced conversations of the first few tracks to something which has passing acquaintance with convention by the closing "Everblooming." Here the initial clatter and scrapes turn choppy, before breaking into walking bass, almost time and incipient lyrical piano unfurling with blue-tinged inflections, until staggering to a fragmented halt. But whatever the trajectory, it is risky to second guess the ultimate destination of this fertile three-way cross pollination.

Track Listing

The Space My Body Fills; Kindled By Solitude; Till A Becomes The; Dark Little Narratives; Everblooming.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Waive | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Relative Pitch Records


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