Saturday, January 11, 2014

Arild Andersen/Paolo Vinaccia/Tommy Smith - Mira (ECM, 2014)

This particular group had a wonderful performance on the album Live At Belleville from 2009 where the group of Arild Andersen on bass, Tommy Smith on tenor saxophone and shakuhachi, and Paolo Vinaccia on drums where they gave an explosive performance that made my top ten for that particular year. This album goes completely in the other direction, with a quiet and meditative studio recording. "Bygone" opens the album with an atmospheric bass and saxophone duo building a hushed free floating sound exploration, while the following track is one of the best of the album. "Blussy" features Smith striking hard in the open space of the trio setting developing a raw and caustic solo propelled by strong thick bass. Slows saxophone probes darkly on "Rossetti" through pensive bass and drums Smith's saxophone punches hard followed by a nimble bass solo and a softer saxophone close. "Reparate" follows in much the same fashion with very spare bass soft saxophone and barely perceptible drums. The pace picks up halfway through when ominous saxophone combines with dark swirls of bass and drums. "Eight and More" is notable as well with soft, subtle drums and saxophone keeping a low profile. Andersen's lush and drums play off against each other in a subtle manner with sparks of saxophone, Smith asserts himself a little more raising the temperature a bit, but sadly he is never allowed to take off and soar. It's just not that kind of album.The music throughout is slow and meditative and may resonate well with listeners with pateience and attention to detail. All three musicians are fluent on their respective instruments but their srared langiage and low voltage make for a quiet sound environment and philosophy. (Release Date Jan. 28) Mira - amazon.com

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