Friday, November 23, 2018

Kaja Draksler / Petter Eldh / Christian Lillinger - Punkt.Vrt.Plastik (Intakt, 2018)

This was a very impressive modern jazz record by Kaja Draksler on piano, Petter Eldh on bass and Christian Lillinger on drums. They first met at an improviser's summit in Amsterdam where their musical chemistry clicked, eventually recording this album in February of 2018 in Cologne. "Nuremberg Amok" has snappy drumming and thick bass playing, allowing the piano to reach out and range widely, adding clusters of notes that are interesting, and providing color for a collective improvisation that floats grandly. Wonderful filigrees of piano notes lead into a brisk and exciting solo, egged on by insistent bass and drums. There is a deep robustness to the bass that anchors the trio to the world around it, and the drumming is passionate and unpredictable. Gliding warmly out, "Punkt Torso," displays the three musicians engaged in a bright and thoughtful performance. Bursts of fast drumming alternate with dreamier sections, creating excellent dynamic range. Draksler carefully picks out her notes and chords, gently lining them up over the ever shifting rhythmic foundation. "Azan" has a medium fast speed that suits the trio well, with dry sounding clattering drumming and thick bass developing an interesting rhythm in duo format, by kneading and stretching the sound. The piano re-enters carefully, deftly engaging with the bass and drums, then moving the improvisation into the three sided space gradually reeling out long lines of cascading notes that work perfectly amid the churning bass and drums, as the band leans in as one for the conclusion.There is a quieter notion to "Veins," a sense of mystery to the sound, with its probing and slightly obtuse feeling, the musicians moving separately yet pulling together in the same direction. The music is subtle and stretches like taffy, according to the whims of the musicians, developing long cascading layers of piano, before morphing back into a group sound. "Body Decline" has deep low end piano with elastic bass and drums creating a dreamscape or fantasia of dark colors, like heavy dark red velvet, evoking the crushing weight of age and illness. They exit this room into a lighter more nimble section of taut bass, feathering percussion and deft runs and pulsating piano chords, creating a very exciting atmosphere. The combination of the tree trunk strong bass and hummingbird fast drumming is very alluring, and gives the pianist a wide area to express herself. There is a quickness to "Momentum" that is a joy to hear, it is subtle and not overbearing, percussive piano, steady bass and rapid drumming, moving briskly and never breaking stride. This group was very impressive, it was difficult to understand what was improvised and what was composed, because the music melded together so well. I hope this group has opportunities to perform live and record live because they are clearly onto something special. Punkt.Vrt.Plastik - amazon.com

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