Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Double Trio: Live At The Festival of New Trumpet Music

A new review of our work by new music stalwart
Bruce Lee Gallanter of
Downtown Music Gallery.

Two trios apart, together, and all over!

Trumpet hero Stephen Haynes has collaborated at length with Bill Dixon and plays in the Vision Orchestra. Recordings with Stephen as a leader have been rare until now. Haynes co-leads this marvelous sextet with that ambitious whippersnapper and Braxton collaborator, Taylor Ho Bynum. Haynes and Bynum both composed tunes on this fine disc with a couple of covers by Ornette Coleman and Dizzy Gillespie. The rest of this double trio features two fine guitarists, Allan Jaffe, (who has worked with Bobby Previte & Ray Anderson) and the ubiquitous Mary Halvorson who has also worked with Mr. Braxton & Taylor in other contexts. The legendary percussionist, Warren Smith, has worked on hundreds of sessions in different genres for more than forty years while Tomas Fujiwara plays in a couple of Taylor's projects. A stellar crew!

This disc was recorded live at the Jazz Standard in NYC during the 2006 Festival of New Trumpet Music. "HeBeSheBeWeBe 1" begins with eerie trumpet and stark percussion but soon the sextet kicks in with some tight ensemble playing. Both guitars and both drummers swirl intricately around one another. Eventually both horns also sail on the top. Mary plays a great Sharrock-like solo before the lone trumpet spins together with the percussion.

"Yx 6c" splits the band evenly with one trio playing one theme while the other trio plays an interconnected theme with them. Both horns spin layers of lines, bouncing notes back and forth. What makes this ensemble so intriguing is the way the different styles or approaches of each player are utilized most fully. Both guitarists have much different sounds, yet they work so well together since the pieces seem to use them just right.

Ornette Coleman’s "Broken Shadows" is covered and done spaciously with a couple of different lines swimming around one another in waves. Both horns play the theme together yet slightly off center.

Taylor composed the "Miscellaneous Suite" in three parts, starting with "Triple Duo" which features three different duos intersecting. When somebody says, "fortune cookie, my ass!" Joe and I just cracked up. On "mm (pf)" the melody is split between each player in fragments, yet it still works with an overall thread or logic that holds it together somehow.

Original modern jazz trumpet hero, Dizzy Gillespie’s "Kush" is deconstructed a bit, yet retains a certain charm. Commencing with "Notes from an Autumn Diary," a long, intense yet freer work that has charted passages and focused freer sections as well.
Without a doubt, this is one of this year's most thoughtful and stimulating releases.

Image of Taylor and Stephen at Firehouse 12 by Nick Cretens

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