Thursday, September 10, 2020

Dave Rempis / Elisabeth Harnik / Michael Zerang - Triple Tube (Not Two Records, 2020)

This excellent freely improvised modern jazz concert was performed by a trio consisting of Dave Rempis on alto saxophone, Elisabeth Harnik on piano and Michael Zerang on drums and percussion. The music was recorded in Graz, Austria in 2019 at the club Tube's, and was broken into three sections for reference. "Triple Tube, Vol. 1" features a probing opening for the three instruments, with curls of saxophone, fractured percussion and light piano notes and chords. The music will swoop and jab, gathering strength and momentum, followed by periods of near silence. These two approaches create an appealing sense of dynamism as the performance develops, with raw, harsh sounding saxophone meeting increasingly free and abstract piano playing for a cavorting duo section, then developing into an excellent free jazz collective improvisation for the whole trio. The piano and percussion are able to cover a huge area of the soundstage, as Rempis takes a stark pointed tone which he then drives straight ahead. They returning to an abstract section of long saxophone tones with spare piano and percussion, resetting themselves for the final push through the conclusion of the performance. The sound fills out with potential energy from each of the musicians and they develop a blistering final approach to a safe landing. With another gentle opening, "Triple Tube, Vol. 2" uses light strumming inside the piano for added texture, with peals of saxophone emerging as the music begins to coalesce. The music strikes a fast pace with the three instrumentalists playing together very well, creating a colorful and interesting performance, then easing out into a quieter more subtle section of interaction. The unpredictable rising and falling of the music's volume and tone keep it continuously surprising and compelling, as when their integrated instruments seem to roll like waves, ebbing and flowing inexorably like a force of nature. "Triple Tube, Vol. 3" uses abstract noises to set an experimental edge to the final track, with swirling percussion and saxophone laying the foundation for the performance to come. Dropping down to atmospheric quiet of piano notes and low toned saxophone the music takes on a noir like sensibility. After an interlude of applause, the group returns for an encore, continuing the quiet and haunting atmospheric edge to the music, but with raw saxophone welling up amid scratchy percussive sounds and finally piano. They are at their freest and most unfettered here, developing soundscapes through trust and sheer imagination, then falling into a sharp powerful concluding performance. Triple Tube - amazon.com

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