These three stalwart European improvisers often convey a semblance of four or more instrumentalists engaging in semi-structured dialogues. It’s a study in sound-sculpting design awash with expansive and minimalist-type musical vistas. Whether it’s Wilber de Joode’s hammering acoustic bass lines or Frank Gratkowski’s gruff clarinet iterations, the trio’s freethinking outlook is often-centered upon pianist Achim Kaufmann’s multi-purpose phrasings.
They embark upon fast and furious maneuvers that profess an angular and at times, introspective string of events. Kaufmann toggles the flow via subtle voicings and brisk flurries where the music is apt to mimic a notion of windblown soundscapes. The artists’ deft expressionism proclaims a myriad of emotive aspects that include notions of confrontation and ominously engineered flows, especially when de Jode’s arco passages serve as the axis of construction.
During various movements the trio elicits imagery of a slowly stepping gait. In other regions of the program, Kaufmann executes avant-blues choruses and interludes atop his band-mates’ gentle accompaniment. Nonetheless, they render happenstance-like exchanges via quirky sub-themes and heated intersections of cantankerous evolvement. In a way, the free element does indeed sound choreographed, but it’s more about the musicians’ intuition and like-minded goals that pave the way for improvisational excellence. (Recommended...)