The AALY Trio

Live at the Glenn Miller Café

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The third release by this Swedish free jazz trio, again augmented by Chicago multi-reedist Vandermark, continues the muscular, no-holds-barred approach of Hidden in the Stomach and Stumble. Recorded live in Stockholm, this set consists of two originals and two covers. Vandermark's "Unit Character," dedicated to alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons, roars into action with a feverish post-bop head, leading to hair-raising solos by Mats Gustafsson on alto and the composer on tenor, intertwining with near telepathic sympathy. Midway through, drummer Kjell Nordeson underpins more ferocious reed work with an almost blues-rock riff before things surge back toward a restatement of the theme. Nordeson is featured throughout the next track, Albert Ayler's "Ghosts." Ayler is certainly one of the touchstones for this band. In fact, the name "Aaly" derives from an Art Ensemble of Chicago composition, "Lebert Aaly," itself a near anagram of Albert Ayler. A sensitive solo from bassist Peter Janson leads into Gustafsson's bluesy "Alva Jo," whose sultry, down-home melody might come as a surprise to those who only know him from his frenetic explorations of the saxophone's outer boundaries, which he definitely gets to later in the track. Vandermark has devoted considerable time to recognizing little-known avant jazz greats and this set closes with a piece by one of them: "Idioms" by British free jazz pioneer Joe Harriott, a lilting, sunny piece where Vandermark is able to showcase his delicious clarinet work.

Overall, a fine, substantial album showing the trio (plus one) in solid form.

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