Georg Gräewe/Ernst Reijseger/Gerry Hemingway

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Counterfactuals Review

by François Couture

Five years had past since the recording of Satum Circle, this trio's sixth album in five years of existence. Adding a seventh to document their tenth anniversary tour was not superfluous. Counterfactuals was recorded at Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, MI, on November 9, 1999. The acoustics are warm, the sound quality excellent. The performance began and ended with short improvs, but its bulk is contained in the two 22-minute pieces "Une Geste Plus Rapide" and "Zer-Streuung." Very little has changed in the trio's approach. Georg Graewe, Ernst Reijseger, and Gerry Hemingway all drag impressive jazz backgrounds but have also ventured forth in many eclectic projects, and they bring all their accumulated experiences to the table. Some moments evoke free bop or the energy of late-'60s German free improv, others are a lot more textural and delicate. For example, on "Crimson Glory," the pianist plays pianissimo notes, sketching a Satie-like melody, while the cellist produces overtones and the percussionist uses a bow on his vibraphone. The result is breathtaking. Hemingway divides his time evenly between the drum kit and the vibraphone, but it's on the latter that he achieves the best results, probably because it forces the other two out of their free jazz piano trio groove -- listen to the change of color and general demeanor when Hemingway gets up and grabs his mallets two-thirds into "Zer-Streuung." Counterfactuals is the kind of strong record you can expect from a longstanding outfit like this one.

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