Guus Janssen


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On this trio recording, pianist Guus Janssen moves through a series of modular interpolations to arrive at a place Mingus did in the early '60s: He figured that interval jumps -- large ones, such as those that exist on "Black Saint and Sinner Lady" -- were the most proficient, and perhaps efficient to get the totality of an idea across, no matter what was left out in the process. Somehow, he figured, as does Janssen, it would be contained in the trace of the music that was happening. Such is the case here where Janssen does his most intense exploration of chord voicings yet on ten different selections. The big seventh jumps on "Before LT" and "After AT" are abrupt movements that highlight the ministrations of swing, but move against it and into the blues by actual intervallic leaps from the beginning to the end of a middle of a phrase or even a chorus and through the solo to the end and back to the beginning of a round without seam. All the shifts, interlocutions of the rhythm players, and chromatic suggestions are left to the margin as Guus Janssen hears a new vein of harmony in his head. The one place where this is illustrated as a contrapuntal exercise is in the cover of "Lennie's Pennies." Arpeggios fall by the wayside and the changes are deconstructed according to interval rather than mode. "Hi Hat" ends so abruptly it seems like the CD player has malfunctioned and "Tune for F" is a ballad that comes off more as a riddle. This is a stunning collection of brave new music, the details of which will be worked out for years to come.

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