Benoît Delbecq/Jorrit Dijkstra/John Hollenbeck

Driff Records CD 1801

By Ken Waxman

Reshaping improvisational parameters, Dutch alto saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra and French pianist Benoît Delbecq add flexible oscillations to the 10 performances here by also improvising on respectively lyricon and preparations or synthesizer, aided by the flexible percussion patterning of Montreal-based John Hollenbeck.

With instrumental additions that can process tones as they’re created, the Europeans’ secondary voices multiply interactions past standard trio voicings to suggest enhanced melodic lyricism and rhythmic vigor, often simultaneously. On Stir for instance, reed smears and outer-space-like oral currents vie for supremacy challenged by wave form squibs and measured keyboard chording. Unfazed by timbre multiplicity, the drummer not only keeps a backbeat going, most powerfully on “Push”, but also bluntly asserts his agenda with individualistic rolls and ruffs plus cymbal splashes there and throughout the CD.

Dijkstra and Delbecq don’t just depend on texture supplements as they aptly demonstrate on Dwell where irregular saxophone trills and split tones confront a flowing keyboard narrative plus inner piano string stops; or on “Stalk”, where modulated piano clusters create an impressionistic theme that complements inchoate lyricon echoes as well as cursive beats plus drum-rim rubbing from Hollenbeck.

Contrapuntal yet communicative, the textural sound-melding throughout the disc suggest that Dijkstra and Delbecq, who first met at the Banff Jazz Workshop in 1990, should collaborate more often. As it is, the two plus Hollenback’s fluid and inventive patterning have created a session over which one can beneficially linger.

-for The Whole Note February 2019