There's no reason three of the most intuitive players to land in New York in recent years shouldn't make one of the most simpatico trios to arise in town in some time. Which, fortunately, they have. In a sense they make a traditional trio with piano leaning toward drums in the rhythm contingent and saxophone as melodicist, but that is only in a sense. They are, and it's only while trying to force words onto their sound that their album's title begins to gain relevance, plenty paradoxical.
With two albums under his own name (that/not on Firehouse12 and koan on 482 Music) Tyshawn Sorey has made known his ambitions to find a Morton Feldman aesthetic within jazz syntax. That endeavor is reflected here as well, although paradoxically perhaps, in a composition credited to pianist Kris Davis. The beautifully sparse 13 minutes of her "Feldman" closes a disc that is full of ideas, but never rushed. Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock has gained notice playing in Tom Rainey's excellent trio with guitarist Mary Halvorson, as well as her own Anti-House (with Rainey, Halvorson and sometimes Davis). And while the three of them play with the sort of intuition that suggests the kind of free improvisation that one would then assume must be composed (another paradox), the group does work — quite strikingly — with structured material. The eight tracks all carry singular composer credits (with each of the three contributing), although the recordings seem certainly to rely heavily on collective interpretations. They flow as easily into heavy repetitions as they do light wanderings, are as given to flurries of free improvisation (as a language if not a practice) as they are gorgeously delicate restraint, sometimes within the space of a minute or two but never at sharp angles. They're not about running with scissors.
Davis, Laubrock and Sorey also all seem to be invested in maintaining musical relationships over time, something all too rare in the strangers-in-the-night world of adventurous jazz. Let's hope that this frog stays around for a while.
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