July 10, 2006
Suite for Trio +
Fenommedia FM 05 001
Going from recorded strength to strength its become apparent that its time for Polands Ole brothers to take up the North American challenge. This isnt an Americentric view of jazz which say that real improv is only practiced stateside. Its just that bassist Marcin Ole and drummer Bartlomiej Brat Ole are such advanced players that everyday exposure to North American improvisers on their home turf, for at least a few weeks, would provide beneficial musical testing.
Although visitors such as American saxophonists David Murray and Ken Vandermark as well as German reedists Rudi Mahall and Emmanuelle Somer have recorded with the two, somehow the absolute highest level of improv isnt often reached. Take SUITE FOR TRIO +, which appears to be more forbidding than it sounds. Although its another high-class Freebop session from the duo plus guests, something seems lacking.
This time the non-Polish guest is French trumpeter and fluegelhornist Jean-Luc Cappozzo, known for his work with clarinetist Louis Sclavis and pianist Sophia Domanchich. Fourth player is Mikolaj Trzaska, on alto saxophone and bass clarinet. A veteran who has worked with trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, the Ole/Trzaska/Ole trio is another of the brothers regular formations.
Trzaskas resonated pitch vibrations on SUITE arent as low energy as on his last outing with the Olees, but coupled with Cappozzos sometimes legit-sounding brassiness, the proceedings seem a little disconnected. Throughout, by accident or design, a few of the tracks seem to start with uncoordinated trills and noodling from the horns, only to be brought to fruition by the elevated rhythmic sense of the bassist and drummer.
This is particularly apparent on the reedists own Urodzaj, which vibrates with tweeting aviary-like coos and a pulsating accordion-like sonic, no doubt produced by extended reed and brass techniques and sul poticello bass expressions. Eventually the loping bounce of the bass and drums kick in to add some rhythmic thrust before proceedings get completely somnolent.
On the other hand the tunes composed by one usually Brat or another of the Ole at least move with a straightforward sort of West Coast swing, often decorated with brassy triplets or tremolo flashing grace notes from Cappozzo. Bolero, for instance is a pulsating Caravan-type line built on a restrained Arabic air leaked from Trzaskas mostly coloratura bass clarinet. Hocketing split tones from the reedist and brassy tremolo slurs from the trumpeter join with rapid, sawing bass lines and drum top polishing on JLC. Although dedicated to the brassman the end product could be described as a hard bop mazurka.
Then theres N-Ju, which features vocalized, Harmon-muted wah wahs from Cappozzo harmonized with plucked bull fiddle pedal point and Brat channeling Gene Krupa on his tom-toms. The piece ends with another expansion of horn squealing and squeaking on top of a Klezmer-style beat: imagine Art Blakey gigging at a Jewish wedding.
Less than 11½ minutes long, the composition Suite for Trio + balances on a walking bass and the clink of a tambourine resting on top of a foot cymbal. After a unison expression of the theme, Cappozzos variations involve strained plunger tones and rubato patterning that match Marcins slip-sliding string exploration. Trzaska squeaking split tones add formal New music gravitas to the proceedings.
Notable, but not quiet memorable, this CD confirms that the Ole brothers need more challenges.
— Ken Waxman
Track Listing: Suite: 1. Freetan 2. Suite for trio + 3. JLC 4. Budmo 5. 5-5 6. Bolero Stefana 7. N-Ju 8. Urodzaj
Personnel: Suite: Jean-Luc Cappozzo (trumpet and flugelhorn): Mikolaj Trzaska (alto saxophone and bass clarinet); Marcin Ole (bass); Bartlomiej Brat Ole (drums)