Arcado String Trio

Live in Europe

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AllMusic Review by

Arcado String Trio is made up of three of the very finest players in the jazz/improv community on their respective instruments. Bassist Mark Dresser is perhaps most widely known for his work in the classic Anthony Braxton quartet of the 1980s and '90s, though he has also established himself as a fine composer in his own right. Mark Feldman's violin virtuosity has had him in demand by everyone from Willie Nelson to John Zorn while cellist Ernst Reijseger has performed with all of Europe's world class improvisers in addition to being a mainstay with the wonderful ICP Orchestra.

On this disc, the trio largely reins in its wilder impulses for a program that leans somewhat toward the neo-classical, composed end of the spectrum. Several of the pieces are prickly and perhaps a bit constrictive, while allowing for a minimum of improvisatory freedom. Others, like Feldman's "Xanax" and Dresser's "Lanette," allow for a modicum of playfulness and even some funkiness, the latter occasionally sounding like a warped version of "It's Only a Paper Moon" as performed by an avant-garde Stephane Grappelli.

Only on the last two compositions, both by Reijseger, does the trio really loosen up and dig into the bluesy and romantic themes involved. Toward the end of "Behind the Myth," Feldman launches into an utterly astounding cadenza that leaves one's mouth agape. An album of pieces of the quality of these two would have been a surefire winner.

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