Kanon is an improvising trio consisting of world-renowned jazz pianist Aki Takashe, trumpeter Axel Dorner, and guitarist/daxophonist ( an instrument invented by the late Hans Reichel consisting of various pieces of shaped wood, amplified and played in a variety of ways) Kazuhisa Uchihashi. I was ignorant of Uchihashi's work, but an internet search provided me with a long list of his releases to date, including recordings with Fred Frith and Hans Reichel, Otomo Yoshihide, and many more with his own band Altered States. This disc finds them at a live gig back in 2007 in Berlin.
At first blush, this reminds me of Cecil Taylor's late '70's works, but with a softer overall feel. "A Break In The Clouds" starts hard with piano clusters and trumpet smears at a quick pace, with little note bombs lobbed from the guitar. A lazy way to describe this music would be to draw attention to the obvious differences in the player's approaches: Takashe pretty much playing it "straight" rhythmically and harmonically, Uchihashi exploring the noisier and atmospheric aspects of strings and wood, and Dorner sort of straddling the two, making his line veer from clean and clear melody to burnt and blistered sound blocks. The three dance around each other much of the time, spiraling to the four corners and then suddenly appearing right in each other's pockets. A longish passage about ten minutes into the track we get a slowly building squall of noise from the guitar and trumpet as the pianist flicks high-pitched note clusters, which might just get swallowed up completely.
"Hear it Very Close" is more playful, a kindergarten class with daxophone kiddies which gets pretty raucous before running out it's sugar-high and slipping into soft pretty chords against feedback and trumpet lines. This has an almost classical feel, a recital for trumpet solo with piano and sine-tones. A lot of Dorner's playing on this disc has that "straight" orchestral player feel, not much swing to speak of.
"An Aquatic Plant" starts pretty squarely in noise territory, the piano seemingly wedged into the spaces between her snarling partners. This dissolves quickly into more note tossing and then swings back toward the smear. It's the aural equivalent of watching a photograph decay, in spots still clear, bright and recognizable, while in other spots cracked and faded, warped and burnt.
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