Sunday, April 21, 2019

Yves Theiler - WE (Intakt, 2019)

This is a very talented trio consisting of Yves Theiler on piano, Luca Sisera on bass and Lukas Mantel on drums. All of the music are original compositions by Theiler, and he creates music that is well versed in modern jazz while looking forward, with an explorer's curiosity to see what's beyond the next hill. “Slush in Thaw” opens the album with a bouncing, bubbling theme and bright piano notes balanced with lower toned chords and tight drums. Some dramatic flourishes keep everyone on their toes, and the dark and light shadow tones of the keyboard are equally appealing. The group shifts into a three way improvisation, where thick bass and skittish drums free the wide ranging piano to explore with percussive jabs and quick runs. After a well articulated bass solo with percussion and spare keyboard framing, the group moves back into the original theme and it's dynamism, ending with more fine bass playing. A dramatic introduction of bowed bass leads the group into “No Rank, No Hill” which is spacious and haunting with bass swoops, brushed percussion and the group coming together for a fast paced trio section. Using hard charging dynamic shifts, this complex music is continuously interesting, rippling and cascading in an exciting manner. “Beauty in Space” uses soft piano chords, opening the music in a quiet ballad formation, as the group gradually fills the available space, gaining posture. Things really change as drums and huge piano chords crash and then leave windows of space in their wake held together by anchoring bass and little percussion instruments. The music develops a suite like formation as the trio evolves into a melodic cell for brushes, bass and piano, gradually developing a more muscular bent before falling back into a more meditative form. Thick sounding bass, dark toned piano set the stage for “The Visit of Mr. Lev,” also including clattering percussion which builds an interesting rhythm that the band builds upon, gaining speed and momentum at a thrilling pace, finally breaking out into a freer form with some very impressive drumming. The percussive nature to this improvisation is key as slashing piano and drums clear the thicket before them like explorers in the wilderness taking on a near manic bent. The music undulates as it moves forward, nearing the conclusion, building the speed and power indicative of the confidence the musicians have in their talent and the improvisation they are constructing, and a much deserved drum feature takes them out with a mighty slam. This album worked well, the band is a formidable unit, combining interesting compositions with open minded improvisations to excellent effect. WE -

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