Chamber jazz has provided an intriguing combination of abstract jazz and modern-classical experimentation, and Clean Feed should be applauded for giving the world a library of music by artists in this mold. Case in point, pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro's trio Wschod, which says that it strives to go beyond established norms. If by this, Pinhiero and company mean unique voicings, abundant technique and challenging yet fascinating group improvisations, they have succeeded.
On Wschod the talents of the trio .are in full bloom. With bangs, clanks, plucks and whisks along the strings inside the piano, Pinheiro provides musical effects and overtones that go way beyond the traditional 88 keys. Even so, his outbursts of free playing, subtle abstractions and powerful phrases have a floating feellike waking up in a dream and thinking you're really awake.
That's not to say that the album lacks beautiful music. Anyone spending time with "Gleam" or "Silent Frogs" will be amazed at how provocative beauty can be. For example, in "Silent Frogs," Pinheiro's use of the high registers sounds like frog croaks while Suchar plays a rolling trap set that adds texture and counterpoint in the background.
Kozera's earthy wooden sound gives the album a solid bottom, yet he's not beyond pushing boundaries. Listen to the flute-like sound that comes from his bass on the jagged free composition "Reedbird." On the same number, Suchar employs several drum techniques and percussion instruments to add musical color and set the mood.
There is little in the way of conventional jazz on this album. Instead Wschod seems bent on creating new vocabulary and musical structures. Like the surface of Mars, the territory explored here is rocky, volcanic and imbued with red.
East Park; Reedbird; White Grass; Gleam; Silent Frogs.
Rodrigo Pinheiro: piano; Zbigniew Kozera: double bass; Kuba Suchar: drums.