In a trio format, listeners have come to expect alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella to lead and write all the compositions. He introduced himself to the world with Aviary (Thought To Sound Records, 2010), and followed up with three more trio releases with bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Frank Rosaly, four if we count Triangulum (Clean Feed, 2017) from his Meridian Trio (Jeremy Cunningham and Matt Ulery). These albums highlight Mazzarella's ability to compose, perform and, maybe of greater significance, organize sounds. With What You Seek Is Seeking You and its predecessor Azimuth (Live At Constellation) (Monofonus Press/Astral Spirits, 2015), Mazzarella shares organization and assembly of the seven improvised tracks with bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Avreeayl Ra.
Gone is written music, but the album does not lack structure and coherence. Credit must be shared equally here. Ra, a member of Sun Ra's Arkestra in the 1980s and more recently a key collaborator with Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis, acts as both an accelerant and a governor for the trio. Håker Flaten, the globetrotting bassistwho can be heard in Atomic, The Rempis Percussion Quartet, Icepick, and too many other ensembles to nameshares the leader role with inspired soloing. His pulled bass notes muscle up "Recollection" as Mazzarella does his best Ornette Coleman alto emulation before sitting out to allow the bass and drums to converse. "Firekeepers" opens with a nod to John Coltrane's Love Supreme with Ra's mallet work following that of Elvin Jones, before veering into a blues, and ramping to intensity. To say Ra, Håker Flaten, or Mazzarella "sound like X" is doing each of them a disservice. Each musicianno, the trio as a unithas created a compelling sound, built upon co-operative improvisation.
What You Seek Is Seeking You; Setting Out; Recollection; Longing; Debris; Firekeepers; Latter
Day Protest Song.
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