Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Trevor Dunn’s Trio - Convulsant avec Folie a Quatre - S​e​ances (Pyroclastic Records, 2022)

This is a thoroughly interesting and compelling album led by the bassist and composer Trevor Dunn, in the company of Mary Halvorson on guitar, Ches Smith on drums, 
Carla Kihlstedt on violin, Oscar Noriega on bass clarinet, Mariel Roberts on cello and Anna Webber on alto flute, making a veritable who's who of modern jazz and new music talent. This makes for rich and multi layered music project, ranging from dervish like complexity to spare rumination. Drawing on the story of a spiritualist cult in early eighteenth century France, Dunn develops a suite of compositions that suits the particular talents of the musicians he gathered, melding the writing of the music with his research of of the history of this organization. The opening track "Secours Meurtriers" is a vibrant fantasia of sounds that represent the seances and mystic experiences of this group, moving through different time signatures as the piece develops. The tomb of "Saint-Medard" was ground zero for the unexplained phenomenon, and this performance portrays that, with the theme carried by guitar and violin, leading to an extraordinary solo for Mary Halvorson using the tools at her disposal to create suitably otherworldly feature. "Restore All Things"  is an interlude that focuses on the strings, while "Eschatology" was written to resemble a chamber ensemble performance. Dunn ends the album with "Thaumaturge" beginning with a beautiful solo bass performance, with the band falling in ever so gradually to create a subtle and mysterious track that seems to sum up and encapsulate the nature of this entire fascinating and successful project. Melding history and music, composition and improvisation, Trevor Dunn and his colleagues have created an unusual and original set of music that deserves to be heard by a wide audience of music fans. Seances - amazon.com

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