Glen Moore / Ralph Towner / Collin Walcott

Trios/Solos

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Towner was, in the 1970s and early '80s, the consummate ECM artist. His classical six-string and 12-string guitar playing lent itself well to Manfred Eicher's aesthetic. This abum is an odd collection of solos and trios, all played with the members of his band, Oregon (which included the late Colin Walcott of Codona). The album features Towner with Glen Moore and Walcott on the opener "Brujo," a driving piece for 12-string and tabla with Moore's bass forging the bridge between rhythm and melody. Towner is still full of verve and ambition here, still trying to prove to himself that it is possible to touch the infinite with music. A number of these tracks are taken from Oregon's Vanguard albums, and some of them are new originals. Also included is a stunningly beautiful cover of Bill Evans' "Re: Person I Knew," with Towner doubling on guitar and piano, and Moore playing a pizzicato bassline worthy of Scott LaFaro. If anything, Towner overly sweetens the piece with his piano playing -- it seems he lacks Evan's gift for understatement -- but he more than compensates in the harmonic changes in the middle section of 16 measures with his 12-string. Moore is solid throughout, swinging like hell. Another notable track is the free improvisation of "Noctuary," where Towner and oboist Paul McCandless go head to subtle head, moving through timbres, pitches, and octaves like they were spokes on a wheel. While Trios/Solos has its moments of pure unadulterated noodling yawn, there are more than enough dimensions where the four elements meet and spark to compensate.

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