Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The October Trio, New Dream

The advanced contemporary pianoless jazz outfit today has become something different than it once was. The classic Sonny Rollins trio of the late '50s, for example, essentially proceeded as a piano-included quartet might at the time, only the space freed up by the absence of piano comping/chord spelling allowed the soloist more freedom and the rhythm section to loosen up and play more densely, to simplify the matter greatly.

By the time a group like Air was flourishing in the '70s, the entire trio had more compositional roles to fulfill in addition to the solo plus flow and momentum mode.

A group such as the October Trio is an heir to that legacy, as you can readily hear in their recent CD New Dream (Songlines 1593-2). It's Evan Arntzen on tenor, soprano and clarinet; Dan Gaucher, drums; and Josh Cole at the contrabass. They roll effortlessly through a series of originals that give pride of place to the group arrangement, a free looseness and multi-improvisational roles to all three members, often simultaneously.

The playing is quite good as are the compositions, which range from free-declamatory to free-rock.

This is a band to watch, a band to hear. The album shows them to have a sound well on the way to maturity, a music that combines the flair of freefire with the musicality of distinctive part-arranging.

Check this one out, by all means.

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