Georg Wissel / Duṧca Cajlan-Wissel / Etienne Nillesen

September 7, 2019

fourtyfour fiftythree

Creative Sources CS 582 CD

Daniel Sarid/Yoni Kretzmer/Michael Evans


OutNow Recordings ONR 040

Creating a Jazz trio from a single reed, piano and drums was first prominent in the 1930s when Benny Goodman would play sets with Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa, and this configuration was brought into the exploratory realm with Cecil Taylor’s band with Jimmy Lyons and Sunny Murray in the 1960s. The configuration has now been accepted pro forma, with these superior CDs part of the actuality.

Far close to the Taylor than the Goodman 3, lack of a double bass means that the pianist normally takes on the rhythmic as well as the melodic function. That concept is taken to its logical extreme on fourtyfour fiftythree as the strings of Duṧca Cajlan-Wissel’s piano are prepared with all manner of items, adding to her habitual rugged and resonating approach. Besides the Yugoslav-German pianist, who also pays notated music, the other members of this Köln-based trio are Netherlands-born extended snare drummer Etienne Nillesen, who has also worked with Simon Nabatov and Matthias Muche, and German prepared alto saxophonist Georg Wissel who plays with Paul Lytton and many others. More attuned to acoustic design is the trio on Bring. Israeli pianist Daniel Sarid is also an educator and curator of avant-garde music in Tel Aviv, New York drummer Michael Evans has worked with everyone from Carla Bley to James Chance, while Israel-American tenor saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer plays with many of New York’s younger tone searchers.

Nillesen’s responsive Mylar scraping and buzzing plus rim pops and top-down thumps enlarge the program in which Cajlan-Wissel spidery repeated keyboard patterns and high-frequency cascades establish themes. Taking a distant or an upfront role, Wissel’s textures encompassing tongue slaps, distanced overblowing and inner tube cries complete the aural picture. The session reaches its initial climax on the nearly 14-minute “III”. Here the saxophonist’s irregularly paced glissandi widen with tone extensions into partials as the drummer creates equivalent measured strokes with finger cymbal-like delicacy. Stopped piano keys and implements shaking on top of piano-harp strings add requisite decorations to the theme which eventually downshifts into key-dusting sweeps and high-pitched reed trills.

That multi-faceted strategy is followed throughout the remainder of disc, with a kaleidoscope of textures displayed from all three: high and low pitched, rugged and gentle and discordant or melodic. If “IV” is lower-case and quieter with saxophone finger vibrations and bass clef piano slides; then “V” focuses on intense drum crunches, syncopated piano clip clops and wide, horizontal reed multiphonics. Subdividing into briefer outbursts, spiky drum rolls and combined mallet string slaps and key clicks signal the final sequence.

Unconnected to any preparations, Kretzmer’s extended flattement and growly split tones introduce the meandering themes on “Give”, Bring’s first track and he retains that firm output throughout the CD’s eight selections. Similarly this meandering exposition is defined with repeated patterns that highlight drum ruff affiliations and metronomic phrase creation from Sarid. Showy drum solos of paradiddles, stops and press rolls on the penultimate “Arrange” and “Let” the final track sets up a display of doubled syncopation from the pianist and snorting, stuttering cries from the saxophonist to bring Bring to the end. However most of the preceding tracks depend on cooperative virtuosity among trio members.

With references to standard Jazz-like pulses at points, usually via Sarid clipping and cascading piano motifs, narrative elaborations take many forms. “Load” for example evolves from a police-whistle like reed screech that with repetition starts to resemble “Reveille”, to the creation of a hard-boiled narrative that contrasts altissimo glossolalia from Kretzmer with sprays of dynamic key slaps and high-pitched tinkling from Sarid. In another instance on “Grow”, Sarid piles on piano chords, often in the piano’s highest register, with a firm touch around Kretzmer’s outbursts of altissimo spurts and repeated bleats. Coupled with slaps from Evans’ kit, the three ascend to, and end with, a fluid, polyphonic narrative.

Never missing double bass strokes at any time, in vastly different manners, both trios show how much can be accomplished in this improvising configuration.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: fourtyfour: 1. I 2. II 3. III 4. IV 5. V 6. VI

Personnel: fourtyfour: Georg Wissel (prepared alto saxophone); Duṧca Cajlan-Wissel (prepared piano) and Etienne Nillesen (extended snare drum)

Track Listing: Bring; 1. Give 2. Stay 4. Load 4. Rotate 5. Bring 6. Grow 7. Arrange 8. Let

Personnel: Bring: Yoni Kretzmer (tenor saxophone); Daniel Sarid (piano) and Michael Evans (drums)