Reviews that mention Pascal Niggenkemper

August 23, 2019

The Fictive Five

Anything is Possible
Clean Feed CF 514 CD

Harris Eisenstadt

Old Growth Forest II

Astral Spirits MF 196/AS 093

By Ken Waxman

Creative and cooperative – or is that just Canadian? – Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based drummer Harris Eisenstadt has for the past 15 years attracted attention as a sophisticated bandleader and band member. A disciplined quartet outing, Old Growth Forest II elaborates the balanced compositions Eisenstadt creates to utilize the strong points of this quartet. Attuned to free-form improvisation, Anything is Possible allots additional space to a quintet with two double basses to stretch to the limits and beyond, compositions by saxophonist Larry Ochs with the drummer’s patterns strengthening the free-flowing expositions with just the right amount of force. MORE

April 27, 2019

Gebhard Ullmann & Basement Research

Impromtus and Other Short Works
WhyPlayJazz WPJ 045

2000

Plant

Umland 19/el NEGOCITO eNR 088

Proving once again his adaptability and the welcome he gets from European-based bands two of New York trombonist Steve Swell’s newest CDs highlight his contributions to ostensibly German-based combos. Both are invested with the same dynamic. One session situates him within the newest iteration of Berlin-based tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist Gebhard Ullmann’s Basement Research. With low-pitched exploration an apt metaphor for the affiliated sextet Plant, the other CD demonstrates the re-imagining of the sextet sounds from a band that started as a trio in 2004. MORE

February 26, 2019

Gordon Beeferman

Other Life Forms
Different Track No #

A diversified session which unfortunately has taken four years to reach the public, Other Life Forms slides among inferences from Jazz, notated music and pure improv. Composer Gordon Beeferman performs this feat boldly and stoically in his music, so perhaps the reason for delay between creation and exhibition is that more conservative elements were queasy by this admixture. They shouldn’t be. For Beeferman, who plays piano and organ here has established a niche where his musical proficiency stretches from the creation of operas and compositions for chamber ensembles to improvising with the likes of Jeff Arnal and Dafna Naphtali. His associates are just as versatile. Drummer Andrew Drury works, with among others, Kuumba Frank Lacy and Robert Dick; bassist Pascal Niggenkemper has played with everyone from Frantz Loriot to Joe McPhee; while violist Stephanie Griffin is at home with a Hans Tammen creation as in the Princeton Symphony. MORE

September 26, 2018

Yoni Kretzmer’s New Dilemma

Month, Weeks and Days
OutNow Recordings ONR 029

Although Israeli-American tenor saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer describes his New Dilemma ensemble as a chamber-improv group, the string-heavy sextet is perceptively as far away from the expected sax’n’strings session as Donald Trump is from presidential norms. Except for the odd interlude, most noticeably in the penultimate section of “Tishma “, the final track, the viola, cello and double bass don’t accompany him, but instead interact to create a harmonious whole.

By the same token the so-called string section isn’t your standard chamber group either. Each – violinist Frantz Loriot, cellist Christopher Hoffman and double bassist Pascal Niggenkemper – have extensive Jazz and notated music experience in North America and Europe. As a further designator, the 11 Kretzmer compositions which made up this two-CD set are stabilized by the unforced drumming of Flin Van Hemmen, with Josh Sinton’s bass clarinet on hand as counterbalance to the saxophonist’s textures. MORE

August 26, 2018

Bedmakers

Tribute to an Imaginary Folk Band
Mr Morezon 017

Looking for the perfect Jazz-Impov band consisting of a quartet of French nationals whose repertoire is exclusively Anglo-Saxon folk music? Well look no further than Bedmakers. Despite the seemingly post modern high-concept, down to its name with echoes of folk icons like The Weavers, The Dubliners or The Tarriers, Bedmakers is adding a new strain to Jazz improvisation the way others have appropriate Afro-Cuban rhythms, Yiddish melodies and Middle Eastern instruments.

Al the members have impressive Jazz bone fides as well. Tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Robin Fincker has worked with the likes of Paul Rogers; violinist Mathieu Werchowski with Jérome Noetinger and Heddy Boubaker; bassist Pascal Niggenkemper with Frantz Loriot; and drummer Fabien Duscombs with Hasse Poulsen and Sylvain Kassap. Aside from a couple of foot-tapping reels which are played pretty much straight, the key to Tribute to an Imaginary Folk Band is the subtle way in which the quartet adds progressive musicology to the tunes without upsetting traditional norms. Considering the majority of the lines come from the folk revival of the 1960s-1970s helps as well. MORE

May 2, 2018

McPhee/Niggenkemper/Solberg

Imaginary Numbers
Clean Feed CF 455 CD

Joe McPhee, Damon Smith, Alvin Fielder

Six Situations

NotTwo MW 954-2

Banal as it may appear to repeat it, but Joe McPhee continues to produce triumphant performances, even in his late seventies and almost a half century after releasing his first LP. Sophisticated in many sub genres, these high-quality trio performances pivot from the admiration the Poughkeepsie. N.Y.-based multi instrumentalist maintains for John Coltrane. Recorded with different bass and drum teams and consisting of original improvisations, the programs articulate Trane’s legacy more clearly than any number of discs recapitulating Trane tributes. MORE

February 21, 2018

Jean-Brice Godet

Lignes de Crêtes
Clean Feed CF406 CD

Benoȋt Kilan & Jean-Luc Petit

La Nuit Circonflexe

Fou Records FR-CD25

Coupling extended reed textures with equally unique similar one created by percussion and/electronic implements is a challenge taken up by representatives of two generations if French reed players on these discs. Resulting in similar intriguing tonalities, one has its genesis in the familiar reed-bass-drum combo, while the other adapts expressions midway between notated New Music and improvisation. Jean-Brice Godet adds radio and Dictaphones to his clarinets, while percussionist Sylvain Darrifourcq also plays zither and Pascal Niggenkemper bass and objects on Lignes de Crêtes’s four selections. Meanwhile on La Nuit Circonflexe, Jean-Luc Petit matches his reed timbres to the buzzing tremors from Benoît Kilian’s percussion and grosse caisse or oversized horizontal drum. MORE

August 19, 2017

Harris Eisenstadt Canada Day

On Parade in Parede
Clean Feed CF 413 CD

Harris Eisenstadt

Recent Developments

Songlines SGL 1620-2

By Ken Waxman

Having reached a comfortable maturity in his playing and composing, Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based percussionist Harris Eisenstadt isn’t averse to showcasing both his talents in varied settings. Like an athlete who excels at more than one sport, the drummer has with On Parade in Parede created a spirited FreeBop session with his Canada Day quartet. Meanwhile Recent Developments is a spiky recasting of composed chamber jazz played by a nonet. MORE

January 7, 2017

Festival Report

Jazzdor
By Ken Waxman

Appropriately the mid-point of Festival Jazzdor’s second week was November 11, when ceremonies honor soldiers who died during both world wars. Reflecting music’s universality though, Strasbourg’s Jazzdor presented several concerts in nearby Offenburg, Germany throughout the festival. This is despite the fact that Strasbourg, a French city of unique Alsatian meals and mixed French and German architecture, atmosphere and street signs, is in a region conquered by Germany from 1870-1917 and 1940-1944. MORE

November 16, 2016

Franz Loriot/Systematic Distortion Orchestra

The Assembly
Out Now ONR 024

Christoph Erb/Frantz Loriot

Sceneries

Creative Sources CS 356 CD

Fissure not fusion could be the word that most closely mirrors the activities of French-Japanese violist Frantz Loriot. A former resident of both Paris and New York, he’s now set up shop in Zürich where he moves among so many multidisciplinary project that it would appear he can clone himself. Take the two CDs here which showcse his talents for either micro or macro invention.

Concerned with the singular and reductionist qualities of duo playing, the tracks on Sceneries are the equivalent of peering through four murky glass panes in the same window. The vision is the same but slightly distorted, depending on which angle is least clouded. Loriot’s partner is Lucerne-based tenor and soprano saxophonist Christoph Erb, another day tripper who has played with stylists as varied as Fred Lonberg-Holm and Michael Zernag stateside and Paul Lovens and Han Koch in Europe. In contrast, like a party balloon that can be inflated to zeppelin size, The Assembly assembles an assembly of 11 New York-based players to poke and probe at the four tracks that are either Loriot or group instant compostions. Ironically the additional players add expanded abstract timbres rather than group harmonies. Unconventionally formulated the Systematic Distortion Orchestra consists of one saxophonist, four brass players, two double bassists, three percussionists and Loriot. MORE

September 16, 2016

Jean-Brice Godet Quartet

Mujô
Fou Records FR-CD 16

Renku

Live in Greenwich Village

Clean Feed CF 354 CD

Like a high-quality electronic product manufactured by the Panasonic Corporation, the career of alto saxophonist Michaël Attias has always involved being slightly ahead of his time. Israeli-born, the reedist followed what has now become a common career trajectory, by moving back-and-forth from the US to Paris, where he first recorded, before setting in New York in the 1990s. Since that point, despite Donald Trump and Brexit, globalization has become a reality in the music business, with the number of immigrant musicians who relocate to North America, especially New York, for a greater or shorter time swelling. Today many players on an Apple bandstand may not only be non-New Yorkers, but non-Americans. Live in Greenwich Village reflects this internationalism. Besides Attias, the cooperative Renku trio includes Japanese-born percussionist Satoshi Takeishi and bassist John Hébert, whose Cajun-Louisiana background is noted in the Gallic spelling of his surname. Each contributes to the compositional pool of this its third disc, recorded after 10 years together. MORE

August 6, 2016

Festival Report

Ljubljana Jazz Festival
By Ken Waxman

Located on both banks of the picturesque Ljubljanica River, Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, is a pleasant city containing, unique historical edifices mostly designed by the city’s early 20th century starchitect Jože Plečnik. Ljubljana is replete with pedestrian-only areas, especially near the iconic Triple Bridge, with parts of its main street restricted to public transit and bicycles. In modern times, Ljubljana has been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, under Italian or French control, ruled by native dictators and kings and a member of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Declaring independence in 1991, Slovenia joined the European Union in 2004. Always supportive of improvised music, the Ljubljana Jazz Festival celebrated its 57th anniversary June 29th-July 2nd this year. Performances were presented in different indoor spaces and the back-garden of the multi-level Cankarjev Dom cultural centre, one of Europe’s largest. MORE

June 6, 2016

Carlberg/Morris/Niggenkemper/Gray

Cosmopolitan Greetings
Red Piano RPR 4699-4419-2

The Who

Zoo

Auricle Aur 14+15

Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus

The Distance

ECM 2484

Eric Platz

Life After Life

Allos Documents 012

Florian Hoefner

Luminosity

Origin Records 82706

Something In The Air: Those Who Teach Can Also Play

By Ken Waxman

As shibboleths go, the hoary “those who can do, those who can’t teach,” must rank at the very top of the list. Besides libelling the majority of educators who devote themselves to the task of imparting knowledge to students, it negates the activities of those who teach and do. Here are some musicians who maintain a full-time teaching carer along with consistent gigging. MORE

March 12, 2016

Larry Ochs

The Fictive Five
Tzadik TZ 4012

By Ken Waxman

Clues to saxophonist Larry Ochs’ expansive cinematic approach to composition are that three of four lengthy tracks here salute filmmakers Wim Wenders, Kelly Reichardt and William Kentridge. Just as those cineastes advanced diverse takes on the language of film, so Ochs references the free music breakthroughs of John Coltrane and Albert Ayler. More crucially though, in the same way that none of these filmmaker’s work replicates earlier productions – or each others’ ideas – so too is The Fictive Five project a step beyond the visions of Ayler and Trane. Plus like film making this project is a group effort, the concepts of Ochs as writer-director are interpreted by a cast of Nate Wooley’s truculent trumpet sneers, drummer Harris Eisenstadt’s irregular splashes and snare splatters, the dynamo-like pressure that emanates from dual bassists Ken Filiano and Pascal Niggenkemper, plus like auteurs such as Orson Wells or John Cassavetes, a role for jagged abrasions that make up Ochs’ outlay on tenor and sopranino saxophone on the CD. MORE

January 6, 2016

Carlo Costa's Acustica

Strata
Neithernor n/n 004

By Ken Waxman

Having firmly established himself with smaller bands, percussionist Carlo Costa's ups the ante with Strata, an extended score for 13 musicians, which like the sedimentary matter it reflects, intermingles graphical and notated scores plus improvisation to simultaneously expose sonic layers of substratum. Usually part of stand-alone duos, trios and quartets, the Italian-born, NYC-based Costa is just one of many younger musicians exploring the possibilities implicit in creating large-scale, cyclical performances, including his frequent associates, violinist Franz Loriot – who isn’t on this disc – and bassist Pascal Niggenkemper, who is. MORE

June 21, 2015

Basement Research

Hat And Shoes
Between The Lines BTLCHR 71238

Carlo Costa Quartet

Sediment

Neither Nor Records n/n 001

Having paid his dues in experimental – and other – music(s) since the mid-1970s, New York-based trombonist Steve Swell has become an eclectic, respected commodity in both North America and Europe. While this means that Swell is as likely to be gigging with Peter Brötzmann as Rob Brown, it also pinpoints the dissolving differences between so-called American and so-called European free music MORE

February 16, 2015

Baloni

Belleke
Clean Feed CF 305 CD

Yoni Kretzmer/Pascal Niggenkemper/Weasel Walter

Protest Music

OutNow Recordings ONR 017

Musical terrorists in the best sense, these two trios may frighten some by how they deconstruct and reorganize their themes and improvisations. Besides realizing that one person’s definition of a terrorist is another’s characterization of a freedom fighter, each band defines free music in a different fashion.

One could say that in conception and instrumentation Baloni plays European-influenced free music and the other trio, American-oriented experimental sounds. However both ensembles are anchored by the string sophistication of French-German double bassist Pascal Niggenkemper. Also while Protest Music may fit in with the genre of go-for-broke improv pioneered by the likes of Cleveland’s Albert Ayler, only one member of that trio is American-born. Drummer Weasel Walter whose percussion navigation buoys from the harshest reaches of Black Metal to the rough subtleties of Free Jazz is a Chicago-area native. Tenor saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer is an Israeli transplanted to Brooklyn. Meanwhile Niggenkemper’s Baloni colleagues are European – French violist Frantz Loriot and Belgian multi-reedist Joachim Badenhorst. Overall, just as committed democracy movements can reach for similar goals by following radically different paths, Belleke’s sonic textures may differ widely from those heard on Protest Music. But each offers a suitable strong program. MORE

February 16, 2015

Yoni Kretzmer/Pascal Niggenkemper/Weasel Walter

Protest Music
OutNow Recordings ONR 017

Baloni

Belleke

Clean Feed CF 305 CD

Musical terrorists in the best sense, these two trios may frighten some by how they deconstruct and reorganize their themes and improvisations. Besides realizing that one person’s definition of a terrorist is another’s characterization of a freedom fighter, each band defines free music in a different fashion.

One could say that in conception and instrumentation Baloni plays European-influenced free music and the other trio, American-oriented experimental sounds. However both ensembles are anchored by the string sophistication of French-German double bassist Pascal Niggenkemper. Also while Protest Music may fit in with the genre of go-for-broke improv pioneered by the likes of Cleveland’s Albert Ayler, only one member of that trio is American-born. Drummer Weasel Walter whose percussion navigation buoys from the harshest reaches of Black Metal to the rough subtleties of Free Jazz is a Chicago-area native. Tenor saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer is an Israeli transplanted to Brooklyn. Meanwhile Niggenkemper’s Baloni colleagues are European – French violist Frantz Loriot and Belgian multi-reedist Joachim Badenhorst. Overall, just as committed democracy movements can reach for similar goals by following radically different paths, Belleke’s sonic textures may differ widely from those heard on Protest Music. But each offers a suitable strong program. MORE

December 21, 2014

NPR 9th Annual Jazz Critics Poll: 2014

Ken Waxman’s ballot

NEW RELEASES

1. Yoni Kretzmer-Pascal Niggenkemper-Weasel Walter, Protest Music (OutNow)

2. Paul Giallorenzo, Force Majeure (Delmark)

3. Kyle Bruckmann, . . . Awaits Silent Tristero's Empire (SingleSpeed Music)

4. Sakata/Lonberg-Holm/Gutvik/Nilssen-Love, The Cliff of Time (PNL)

5. Alexander Hawkins, Step Wide, Step Deep (Babel)

6. François Carrier-Michel Lambert-Alexey Lapin, The Russia Concerts Volume 1/The Russia Concerts Volume 2 (FMR)

7. Rodrigo Amado & Jeb Bishop, The Flame Alphabet (NotTwo) MORE

June 4, 2014

Pascal Niggenkemper

Vision7
Clean Feed CF 283 CD

Vision7 is a curious session for French-German bassist Pascal Niggenkemper. In the past, Niggenkemper, who is now a Brooklyn resident, has distinguished himself as soloist or sideman in a variety of instrumental projects featuring everyone from pianist Simon Nabatov to fellow bassist Pascal Ali. More ambitious, this suite made up of the bassist’s compositions, is interpreted by a septet in which Emilie Lesbros’s texts and vocal delivery feature prominently in at least four of the program’s seven compositions. At points her verbal Dadaism and onomatopoeia almost transforms the suite into a multilingual avant-cabaret show, making the bassist’s vision appear a bit cockeyed. MORE

February 11, 2014

Black Host

Life In the Sugar Candle Mines
Northern Spy NS 039

Adam Lane Trio

Absolute Horizon

NoBusiness NBCD61

The Sabir Mateen

Jubilee Ensemble

NotTwo MW 862-2

By Ken Waxman

From the time he relocated to NYC from Virginia about a decade ago, alto saxophonist Darius Jones made a major impact on the local scene, partnering with the likes of pianist Matthew Shipp, plus releasing acclaimed CDs as a leader. But Jones is a collaborative musician and these notable discs find him using his considerable talents to help realize others’ visions. MORE

January 8, 2014

Festival Report

Festival Jazzdor Strasbourg
By Ken Waxman

A mercantile and European Union government centre, Strasbourg is a sophisticated French city with a large university, massive fortifications, picturesque canals and a renowned cathedral. Although La Marseillaise was composed and first sung in Strasbourg it’s also part of Alsace which was ceded to Germany from 1871-1918 and 1940-1944. Overcoming this historical enmity, for the past 11 years Festival Jazzdor has included a series of concerts in the nearby German city of Offenburg.

This year’s festival (November 8 to 22) was no different. One of its highlights was Günter Baby Sommer’s Bopp-Art Percussions in Offenburg’s Reithalle in Kulturforum. Featuring the veteran drummer’s quartet of saxophonist Frank-Paul Schubert, trombonist Gerhard Gschlößle and bassist Antonio Borghini, it matched their fiery blistering improvisations with a three-man Taiko ensemble plus Katharina Hilpert’s ethic and traditional flutes which bridged the two solitudes. Although the white blouses worn by the percussionists made them look like chefs, their massive drums and gongs resonations merely spiced the program with the Sommer four which provided the main meal. The several courses included traditional Saxon marches, slinky set pieces and experimental excursions where the horns injected gospel-like and Dixieland inflections emotions into frenetic line deconstruction. Prominent were tunes such as Like Don” and “Art Goes Japan”, which honored Sommer’s heroes Don Cherry and Art Blakey. The former featured a Schubert reimaging of a Cherry head, while the dynamism of the latter was maintained as the bearded, diminutive drummer put an individualist stamp on many of Blakey’s distinctive runs. MORE

December 23, 2013

8th Annual Jazz Critics Poll – NPR Music

Ken Waxman
(The New York City Jazz Record, Jazz Word)

NEW RELEASES

1. Convergence Quartet, Slow and Steady (NoBusiness)

2. Andrew Cyrille, Duology (Jazzwerkstatt)

3. Black Host, Life in the Sugar Candle Mines (Northern Spy)

4. Scott Neumann, Blessed (Origin)

5. Michel Edelin, Resurgence (RogueArt)

6. Ab Baars-Meinard Kneer-Bill Elgart, Give No Quarter (Evil Rabbit)

7. Maria Faust, Jazz Catastrophe (Barefoot)

8. Barry Altschul, The 3dom Factor (TUM)

9. Mark Dresser, Nourishments (Clean Feed)

10. Alexey Kruglov-Alexey Lapin-Jaak Sooäär-Oleg Yudanov, Military Space (Leo) MORE

September 24, 2013

Black Host

Life In the Sugar Candle Mines
Northern Spy NS 039

Taking another shot at stretching improvised music’s boundaries is New York super group Black Host, which brings to boil inflections from Free Jazz, modal improvising, electronics, Thrash Rock and ProgRock to forge its own sound. Overall, nuanced friction could be described as the performance mode here.

With all tracks but two credited to drummer Gerald Cleaver, who is also listed as contributing sound design, Cleaver obviously had a major influence on the end product. Yet as a drummer who has worked with players as different as saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, he obviously has wide-ranging interests. Ditto for guitarist Brandon Seabrook, who is sometimes found in Rock settings, and piano and synthesizer player Cooper-Moore, who when not working with the likes of bassist William Parker, creates his own version of roots music on home-made instruments. Meantime alto saxophonist Darius Jones and bassist Pascal Niggenkemper are busy jazzers. MORE

February 7, 2013

PascAli

Suspicious Activity
Creative Sources CS 213 CD

Gebhard Ullmann/Chris Dahlgren/Clayton Thomas

Bass X 3 Transatlantic

Leo Records CD LR 625

By Ken Waxman

Experiments with ensembles featuring double basses-and-low-pitched instruments or just double basses aren’t exactly commonplace, but over the past couple of decades experimenters such as Joëlle Léandre, Barry Guy and William Parker have demonstrated that this unusual instrumentation can be both appropriate and stimulating. Here are other two sessions that add to that canon. MORE

November 11, 2012

Thomas Heberer’s

Clarino Cookbook
Red Toucan RT 9345

Gebhard Ullmann/Jurgen Kupke/Michael Thieke

The Clarinet Trio 4

Leo Records CD 622

Gordon Grdina

Her Eyes Illuminate

Songlines SGL-2407-1

Matthew Bourne/Laurent Dehors

Chasons d’amour

Émouvance émv 1034

Something in the Air: The Clarinet Resurgence in Jazz

By Ken Waxman

At the height of jazz’s popularity, during the Big Band era of the 1930s and 1940s, one of the most common images was of a resplendent clarinetist, instrument shining in the spotlight, taking a hot solo. Subsequent styles found the so-called the licorice stick relegated to a poor cousin of the saxophone, with few reed players brave enough to keep the clarinet as a double, let alone concentrate on its unique timbres. However attacks on conventional sounds, coupled with an appreciation for unique instrumental textures staring in the 1960s, spurred a rediscovery of the wooden reed instrument. Right now there are probably more CDs extant featuring the clarinet than at any time since the heyday of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and Woody Herman. MORE

January 5, 2012

Pascal Niggenkemper

Upcoming Hurricane
No Business NBCD 34

By Ken Waxman

Spontaneity is enhanced by inspiration. That’s what bassist Pascal Niggenkemper proves with this CD, an original take on the classic jazz piano trio, recorded in one session in Cologne. The symmetry maintained between linear harmony and fanciful abstractions demonstrated on the seven tracks is also a result of to the equilibrium maintained among the French-German bassist who now lives in New York, and his associates – sidemen isn’t the word – who singly and together have been on hundreds of records. MORE

October 10, 2011

Hertenstein/Heberer/Badenhors/Niggenkemper

Polylemma
Red Toucan #RT 9342

TØRN

Crespect

2nd Floor 014

By Ken Waxman

Part of New York’s growing Diaspora of German musicians Brooklyn-based drummer Joe Hertenstein show his maturity as a capable performer and appealing composer on these recent sesions.

Ironically, although Hertenstein has lived in the Apple since 2007, his associates on both discs are also European. Recorded in his home town of Cologne, Crespect features two others from that city’s bubbling improv gestalt: pianist Philip Zoubek and bassist Achim Tang. Although recorded in Brooklyn, Polylemma has a similar European cast: Hertenstein, trumpeter Thomas Heberer and bassist Pascal Niggenkemper, all Germans who constitute the HNH group, and Belgian bass clarinetist Joachim Badenhorst from Antwerp. MORE

May 31, 2011

Joe Hertenstein/Pascal Niggenkemper/Thomas Heberer

HNH
Clean Feed CF 205 CD

Taylor Ho Bynum/John Hébert/Gerald Cleaver

Book of Three

RogueArt Rog-0029

Unusual in composition, an improvising trio made up of double bass, drums and a brass instrument usually has a harder time balancing its sonics than when the third instrument is piano, say, or saxophone. It’s a tribute to each of these formations that the end results are of such high-quality, although the Book of Three CD is low-key and atmospheric, while HNH is bright and lively. MORE