Bert Turetzky/George Lewis/Vinny Golia

Triangulation II
Kadima #30

By Ken Waxman

As unruffled as any musical conversation among veteran players, the free improvisations which make up Triangulation II evolve with certainty and sophistication. Nonetheless with each player an old hand at pushing instrumental timbres to their limits, the results are anything but comfy. Multi-reedman Vinny Golia, trombonist George Lewis and bassist Bert Turetzky are so experienced at sonically depicting the seemingly impossible that they can do so at medium tempos and moderate volume. Plus these unorthodox techniques don’t stop them from creating harmonious musical relationships.

Turetzky, a retired UCSD music professor, who taught accomplished players such as David Izenson and Mark Dresser, pioneered solo recitals of contemporary notated music for double bass. Here, with his stentorian bowing or flashing spiccato, he sets up the other two’s improvisations then provides string-slapping continuum. Lewis’ contributions range from earth-shaking capillary growls and plunger cries to vocalized tremolo tones. His early association with Anthony Braxton serves him well when dealing contrapuntally or in harmony with Golia, who on this CD outlines breathy flute patterns, guttural contrabass clarinet roars and shrill, yet legato clarinet lines.

Although lacking the bassist’s col legno bow work or slide-whistle like squeals from Golia, which enliven a track like “Diversion a Tre”, two other tracks pinpoint the trio’s intuitive cooperation. “A Low Frequency Colloquy” is just that. Golia’s glissandi and Lewis’ brays sink to such a subterranean low that Turetzky’s pedal point soon prods them to alternate guttural tones with higher pitched shrills. However “Another Heated Conversation” with its mirrored triple-counterpoint, is heated in execution not anger. By the finale it’s nearly impossible to distinguish one instrument’s texture from another, with the trombonist trumpeting elephant-like, the bassist’s slapping his lowest tones and the reedman overblowing pressurized licks from two horns simultaneously.

As perfectly balanced as a triangle’s three sides, the performances are emotionally fulfilling as well.

Tracks: Reconaissance; Plenipotentiary Panache; Ballade; You Don’t Say; A Low Frequency Colloquy; Diversion a Tre; Another Heated Conversation (Thanks to M.W.); Up Is Down (Jan Sedifka R.I.P).

Personnel: George Lewis: trombone; Vinny Golia: woodwinds; Bert Turetzky: contrabass

—For New York City Jazz Record May 2011