Friday, November 20, 2015

Blaise Siwula, Luciano Troja, John Murchison, Beneath the Ritual

Today, the final volume of three recent releases by Blaise Siwula, this time a trio of reeds, piano and bass, Blaise, Luciano Troja and John Murchison, respectively. Twelve improvisational segments grace Beneath the Ritual (No Frills 0009).

This is open-ended free spontaneity in the "jazz" realm. It is a measured, subtle shifting of moods that throws light on the productive possibilities that these three together realize fruitfully.

Pianist Luciano Troja has internalized the history of the music to give out with his own freewheeling exploratory style somewhere in between the absolute iconoclasm of a Cecil Taylor and the more thorough structuralism of the inner-outness of someone like Chick Corea in his adventurous days. He straddles the jazz piano tradition and finds a way to be himself here.

Bassist John Murchison brings strength of purpose and anchorage to the ensemble. He is open-endedly lucid in response to the others when that seems the way and propulsively forward-moving at other times.

Blaise brings on his arsenal of alto, tenor, soprano and clarinet. If you sometimes hear traces of Barney Bigard or Jimmy Hamilton or even Sidney Bechet in the clarinet and soprano segments, it is because Blaise embodies the tradition at the same time as he subverts it and/or converts it to his own personal expressive style. In the end you hear a perpetual motion of inventiveness here with Blaise filled with great ideas and a mastery of tone and timbre as well as his own idiosyncratic notefulness. This is another great example of the mature Siwula at his best.

But needless to say the whole totality of three way outcomes are critical to this session. If, as been famously noted by Whitney Balliett, jazz is the "sound of surprise," it is also the sound of affirmation. The ideal consists of a kind of dialectic of the two melding together and continually mutating if you are to recognize the music as being within itself, first, and innovative outside of the typical combinations, second.

That we get that exceptionally well in Beneath the Ritual it is because Blaise, Luciano and John are attuned to a foundation as a place to spring forward from and transform endlessly so that in the end it is a new place to dwell within musically. It is Blaise Siwula once again in excellent form and a place where Troja and Murchison have equal say in where the inventiveness can go and does. It's a tribute to all three and a fine set! Recommended!

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