Thursday, July 18, 2019

Josh Berman / Paul Lytton / Jason Roebke - Trio Correspondences (Astral Spirits, 2019)

This is an excellent meeting between three talented improvisers, Josh Berman on cornet, Paul Lytton on percussion And Jason Roebke on bass. The recording is a combination of two sessions, in Oslo and Padova, Italy in April of 2018.

The middle three tracks are the core of the album, and the music develops a deep textural interplay on the piece "Short Piece From Cafe Mir." Playing the cornet allows Berman to balance his unique and personal approach between brittle lines of sound and warmer, more fluid playing. The bowed bass and percussion are light and nimble, and that stretches the fabric of the music in an elastic manner, intertwined with the cornet, keeping the music in a constant state of heightened activity. Berman with spark sounds across the sky with the bass and drums quietly picking their spots, leading to a taut dynamic flow. "Ringing Out The Room" is a fine collective improvisation building out of some stoic bass playing, where each of the three instruments have a hand in developing a spontaneous composition in such a way that it plays to each of their respective strengths. Berman can call out long arching tones of puckered brass, adding emotional weight and heft to Lytton's percussion that is in constant motion, never overwhelming but pushing and pulling at the rhythm along with the the bass, that whether plucked or bowed adds texture and integrity to the music. Lytton is the focus of "Percussion Introduces the Theme" and his drum work is very interesting to hear, making the most of his whole drum kit and developing a multi-layered rhythm, sometimes sounding soft like the rustling of fall leaves, then ringing bells to call forth new ideas and leading Roebke and Berman into the performance. The music builds gradually from the bottom up, from the percussion to the bass and the cornet, building a solid foundation for the group to embark into a colorful and inventive improvisation, as the instruments dovetail with each other in a very impressive fashion. Berman is particularly effective sputtering and then punching through the rhythm with aplomb.

This is a brief album that works very well, the three musicians are well attuned to one another, and are able to construct improvisations that are both technically impressive and listenable. Trio Correspondences -

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