Thursday, April 28, 2016

Marilyn Lerner, Ken Filiano, Lou Grassi, Live at Edgefest

Today we have a very worthwhile LP recorded Live at Edgefest (no business NBLP 90) in Ann Arbor, 2013, featuring the excellent trio gathering of Marilyn Lerner on piano, Ken Filiano on bass, and Lou Grassi on drums. This is by no means their first but it is one of their very best, the live setting that day inspiring them to do some of their most compelling abstract avant-free playing.

The set features four longish collectively composed-improvised numbers that show a three-way dialog of a very high caliber. Each artist is saying something original and vital, and each gets plenty of room to interact and make significant statements of a free sort. Lou Grassi is one of the most important drummers on the avant jazz scene, playing well conceived, colorful washes of drum sounds with a dynamic and deliberation that make for a wide-open set of possibilities for the trio. Ken Filiano is the complete bassist, whether in arco or pizzicato mode, with a sure sense of phrasing and a propulsive, driving arc of sound color and soulfulness. Marilyn Lerner is very much a pianist who finds a special middle ground between scatter dynamics and advanced harmonic-line freedom. There is something of the new music approach to her playing as well.

The three give us an album that is thoughtful and full of feeling, expressive and dynamic. It is one of those albums that has so much to offer musically that it takes a few listens to fully digest.

Highly recommended. A piano trio in full flower, playing an unhindered and inspired set. Check it out.

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