Sunday, January 07, 2018

Samuel Blaser Trio - Taktlos Zurich 2017 (hatOLOGY, 2018)

You wouldn’t know it from just listening to to this album, but trombonist Samuel Blaser was taking strong pain medication to mitigate a broken rib and other injuries suffered in a bicycle accident shortly before the show. He is playing as well as ever though, able to arc long tones of brass and short bursts of sound that fit in perfectly with partners Marc Drucet on guitar and Peter Brunn on drums and percussion. The play four wide ranging compositions, beginning with Drucet’s “Stoppage” which runs nearly twenty five minutes in length and provides plenty of room for the trio to really stretch out with the musical instruments entering single file and then patiently falling into a collective improvisation that stretches and pulls at the matrix of time and tempo as Drucet’s guitar alternates between complex spidery playing and strong amplified growls of feedback. Brunn’s skittering, open ended percussion style keeps the playing field wide open on this performance and Stravinsky’s “Fanfare for a New Theatre" which melds into Drucet's "Useless Knowledge.” The trio branches out into classically inspired avant-garde improvisation, and open by playing in tight formation, developing a thematic statement and the carefully staking out territory, as Drucet’s guitar grounds the performance popping and slapping like a bass as the trombone slurs and the percussion keeps everything in frame. Blaser’s own “Jukebox” has him playing in open space, thoughtfully carving the air, as brushes provide a very quiet accompaniment. It’s a slow developing performance, but one that uses dynamic tension to keep things moving. Finally, another Drucet composition “How to Lose” concludes the album with some rousing playing complete with snarls of electric guitar and stoic growls of trombone. The build up to a rousing collectively improvised finish, which garners a round of well deserved applause. Taktlos Zurich 2017 -

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