Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thollem/Parker/Cline - The Gowanus Session (Porter Records, 2012)

This was an interesting and unusual trio improvisation with Thollem McDonas on piano, William Parker on bass and Nels Cline on guitar. There was no sense of soloists on this album, rather a collective improvisation that was named upon completion. The three musicians brought unique backgrounds and sensibilities to the recording. McDonas, the nominal leader, alternates between ominous and rumbling lines of low piano occasionally sparking into caffeinated blasts of notes and chords. Cline is particularly interesting in this scenario, revelling in the open space and painting the scenes with squalls of feedback and sharply jagged notes. Parker is the planet around which they gravitate, his bass playing is solid and free, and who uses the bow very effectively in conjunction with Cline’s guitar and thunderous piano on “In the World.” The epic “Lives” is the centerpiece of the album, with sprawling feedback and rumbling piano, building in and out of space, creating an ominous and haunting song world. The Gowanus Session -

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