Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Papajo Trio Offers European Improvisational Abstractions

The European improvisational scene has been flourishing for many years. Avant Europe improv differs from its American counterpart in that it tends to be more abstract, less blues-based and rhythmically more consistently anarchic. This is of course a gross generalization. It does hold true for the CD at hand today.

Papajo is a trio of Paul Hubweber on trombone, Paul Lovens, drums, and John Edwards on bass. Their new release Simple Game (Cadence Jazz) freewheels through five improvisational pieces in ways that should intrigue the serious listener.

Hubweber has been based around Moers and has been a part of the Euro improv scene for many years. His musical mind seems to have a direct relationship to his technical abilities on the trombone; he seems to deftly and swiftly execute what he imagines and hears. Now I can't know that but it comes out in the ease of his articulations and confidence in his phrasing. Paul Lovens is well known as a rambunctious but abstracted drummer. He is so here. John Edwards is new to me but plays plenty of bass and fits into the open-ended dialog well. The late Peter Kowald had the bass chair in this group before his death so Edwards has some serious shoes to fill. He does fine.

Simple Game covers a lot of ground. Moods range from quietly somber to boisterously elated. Hubweber gets much out of his trombone and might be considered the logical successor to the late Paul Rutherford for Euro-Bonemaster, if such a position exists.

It's all good music and a definite addition of worth for those who wish to keep up with what's going on in Europe.

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