Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Reed Trio - Last Train to the First Station (Kilogram Records, 2011)

The Reed Trio is a group consisting of Ken Vandermark, Mikolaj Trzaska and Waclaw Zimpel on various saxophones and reed instruments. For some reason I thought this music was recorded for a film soundtrack, and if so it makes quite a bit of sense. The music moves through a wide variety of textures and nuances in a live setting before a polite but engrossed audience. The musicians blend their sound well on the variety of instruments, and will also step out to solo with their two compatriots riffing in the background. But solos are really not the aim of the music, this is truly about collective improvisation, three musicians creating spontaneously in real time. The overall effect is one of a collective painting or other visual art where the musicians are chipping away at the sounds to find the beauty within. The music that this trio makes is rather different that which Vandermark makes with his other of the same configuration, Sonore. While that band tends to be muscular and dynamic, the Reed Trio moves in the other direction looking for subtlety and the tactile features of the music. This music is about improvised texture and free thinking comprehension about how roughly similar sounding instruments can blend together to make coherent and exploratory music. They do seem a little rough around the edges at times (risk-takers often do) but there is a genuinely unique sound on this album that can be further developed with time. Last Train to the First Station - amazon.com

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