Monday, December 07, 2009

Michael Attias - Renku in Coimbra (Clean Feed, 2009)

Saxophonist Michael Attias has been active for a decade and a half in New York City as leader and sideman with the likes of Paul Motian. This subtle and thoughtful album is mostly in a trio setting with John Hebert on bass, Satoshi Takeishi on drums, and Russ Lossing on piano for one track. Recorded live in a club in Coimbra, Portugal without an audience this is an album filled with thoughtful and patient meditations on the saxophone trio. "Creep" opens the album with mild and gentle probing saxophone. A subtle bass solo takes over before quietly yearning alto sax returns. "Thingin'" has amiable uptempo trio improvisation featuring some nimble and dexterous plucked bass. "Do & the Birds" has an abstract introduction of scraped percussion and plucked bass, setting a mysterious pace for the saxophone to comment on. Lossing sits in for "Fenix Culprit" and his piano propels a quartet improvisation that is fast and exciting. "Wels" slows things back down to a smoothly flowing medium tempo. Subtle percussion opens "Sorry" before integrating angular and propulsive bass. Hebert is the key here and he takes a solo with has an appealing thick sound. "Universal Constant" and a reprise of the opening "Creep" round out an album that is filled with deft and thoughtful playing. There is nothing flashy here, no one is showing off or playing for the gallery, and the music is all the better for it. There is a sense of comradeship amongst the band members, where everybody is moving toward the same goal. Renku in Coimbra - Clean Feed

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