Monday, January 10, 2011

Grunen Gets A Green Light For Its Advanced Piano Trio Improv

We are back again on a Monday morning after a recharging weekend. And we greet the week with a strong piano trio whose new album is titled appropriately Grunen (Clean Feed 202). The music is like a luxuriant springing up of plant life. And like a naturally flourishing patch of green the music does not follow a regimented order of how to develop and grow in tandem, but rather fills the spaces and leaves others in ways that are anarchically beautiful.

For the record (and otherwise) Grunen features pianist Adam Kaufmann, bassist Robert Landfermann and Christian Lillinger on the drums. This is most definitely NOT a Bill Evans type trio. It begins and ends on the edges of musical abstraction. Each member is integral to the whole. Adam Kaufmann plays with a great variety of attacks (including the conventional, inside-the-piano and prepared). He creates brilliantly brittle new music-oriented clusters, melodic fragments and sharply edged chords while Landfermann and Lillinger work to create a sponteneously out counterpoint of sounds and pitch-noise eruptions.

This is by now an approach that has a fairly long lineage from early Bley and Cecil through to a good number of others.

And it's not that what they are doing is brand spanking new on the improv scene. What counts is that they do it so well. It's obvious on listening that all three musicians have gained a real control and facility for the outside improvisational possibilities of their instruments and they combine together in ways that fascinate and provoke your attention.

The out piano trio has a winning new three-way promulgation on Grunen. It's really four-way, though, because you the listener are invited, even required to participate by unraveling the inherent logic of their free dialogs. There's much here to piece together in the aural imagination. Very much recommended.

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