Kasper Tom / Simon Krebs / Tomasz Dąbrowski / Sven Dam Meinild

February 28, 2020

When I Come Across

Audio Cave ACD-009-2019

Cene Resnik Free Stellar Trio + Rob Mazurek

Age of Chaos

Clean Feed CF 527 CD

Whether for novelty or austerity removing the double bass from a combo actually makes little difference to committed improvisations. Cultivated rhythmic inventions demonstrated by both drummers maintain a proper pace, while the inclusion of another chordal instrument contributes to the program’s evolution. Although both these European discs operate with brass-reed front lines and similar chordal-drums integration, they’re characterized by their differences.

Seeking to integrate a mature romanticism with more biting improvisations, When I Come Across, features the playing and compositions of Polish trumpeter Tomasz Dąbrowski, with Danes baritone saxophonist Sven Dam Meinild, guitarist Simon Krebs and drummer Kasper Tom. The seven tunes fit in with the musical world view of Dąbrowski, whose collaborators have ranged from Tyshawn Sorey to Maria Faust and the others who have worked with the likes of Anders Mogensen, Tony Malaby and Michael Formanek.

Notwithstanding a balanced and indolent first track, whose quasi-rondo form is more concerned with harmony than heat, When I Come Across toughens up by “Pegleg”, the second track, driven by guitar strokes, drum pops and snorting saxophone. The whinnying trumpet slurs arise in counterpoint, with the brass player’s focus on spatial alignment and integrating ethnic and Jazz mainstream themes played out here and on the remainder of the disc. Krebs’ expansive, almost Rock-like string frails are expressed best on “Pulse for Me” and the concluding title track. But while tock-tock drumming suggests a beat-orientation, tonal smears and the use of various mutes by the trumpeter which dig variegated textures from the horn make the result more dissident and perversely more oriented towards mainstream refinement. The challenge and resolution among colliding tendencies is best reflected on “Stand Alone Objects” and the subsequent “When You get to Actual Playing”, which is almost a reprise of the first. The sonic architecture of these spirited tracks allows for single string strokes from the guitar, march suggestions from the drummer and an exposition that matches fluent tone shading from the trumpeter and bottom snorts from the saxophonist.

In contrast Age of Chaos is a live nearly 56-minute free improvisation featuring Slovenians, tenor saxophonist Cene Resnik and drummer Marko Lasič with Italian pianist Giorgio Pacorig and American guest Rob Mazurek playing piccolo trumpet. Singly and as members of Resnik Free Stellar Trio, the Baltic associates regularly play with stylists such as Giovanni Maier and Zlatko Kaučič, while Mazurek has collaborated with a multiple of free players on both sides of the Atlantic.

Revving up from a standing start the emphasized motion is propelled forward with hard percussion smacks, fluttering trumpet timbres and irregular reed vibration as the pianist moves across the exposition with studied strokes. Seesawing the narrative into detours, upsurges and timbral decreases, Mazurek evolves from pear-shaped brassiness to high-pitched yelps, while Resnik’s variations encompass reed squalls, concentrated tone variations and multiphonic slathers. While the dual sputtering choked notes aren’t soothing, a sfumato-like melody still lurks underneath, matched at the half-way point with echoing electronic glisses from the trumpeter and aviary cries from the saxophonist. Further matching Resnik’s shamanistic-like outpouring with vibrations from Mazurek that manage to be half-Miles and half-mystic, Lasič’s clatter and pumps prevent a dissolve into static so that the final few minutes are as lively as the first ones. Each player then challenges one another with higher or lower-pitched tones until piano pitter-patter presages the conclusion.

Fear of a bass-less improvised session being less than stellar are baseless as these quality CDS prove.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: When: 1. HBP 2. Pegleg 3. I Have No Idea 4. Stand Alone Objects 5. When You get to Actual Playing 6. Pulse for Me 7. When I Come Across

Personnel: When: Tomasz Dąbrowski (trumpet, mutes); Sven Dam Meinild (baritone saxophone); Simon Krebs (guitar) and Kasper Tom (drums)

Track Listing: Age: 1. Age of Chaos

Personnel: Age: Rob Mazurek (piccolo trumpet); Cene Resnik (tenor saxophone); Giorgio Pacorig (piano) and Marko Lasič (drums)