Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gallio-Girod-Ulrich and Places, 2008

Ayler Records has the sort of A&R philosophy that makes for consistently high-interest releases that are of a piece stylistically. They cover the Euro-American free jazz-free improvisation world with offerings by both the known and the relatively unknown performers. And with their download-only series, they give you for a nice price the full album art and a good quality sound file. There are other labels doing important work in this genre and other left-of-mainstream or otherwise out-of-the-way idioms. Regular readers of my blogs will know which ones I have found indispensable today for an understanding of what is modern about modernity (or what is NOT so much modern, but rather traditional, for that matter).

Today we look at another interesting Ayler download release. Places regroups the trio of Christoph Gallio (alto and soprano), Dominique Girod (bass) and Dieter Ulrich (drums) for a Zurich reunion after a ten-year hiatus. These are three eloquent free players that most definitely still have much to say. Gallo channels a little bit of Braxton and Mitchell, but otherwise shows an abstractive knack that comes from his inner wellsprings. Girod has a woody tone and an extended line-weaving vocabulary that makes for good dialogues and cross-talk inside the group improvisations. And Ulrich is a melodic drummer. He phrases almost like a horn.

Places captures the trio in a mood to create elegantly sprawling improvisational castles of eloquence. It is readily enjoyable outing that will appeal to those who appreciate the world of open-ended improv. For a good price you get an interesting trio you might otherwise have missed, and on a good night at that.

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