Gold Sparkle Trio

Thunder Reminded Me

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On their seventh full-length release, Brooklyn's (by way of Atlanta) Goldsparkle Trio were taped live at the Knitting Factory in New York during the 2001 Vision Fest. The trio, who manage to walk the finest line between composition -- both highly and loosely structured -- and free improvisation, are at their level best here, walking a tightrope of tension where their naturally lyrical improvisational style is juxtaposed against their innate desire to push the envelope. Check out the opener, "Naysayer," where Charles Waters' clarinet playing vacillates between a folk melody and an angular scalar investigation while remaining in the grip of the rhythm section's melodic backing. Elsewhere, as on the title track, a propulsive bassline by Adam Roberts brings in an Ornette Coleman-esque melodic line, deceptively simple, though its rhythmic construction is anything but, changing signatures after almost every bar and adding improvisation sometimes in the chorus and at others in polyrhythmic bridges created by Andrew Barker's drumming -- he is anything but a time keeper. The beautiful, edgy scalar structures that are at the heart of the mismatched angles in "Williamsburg Concerto 1 & 2" offer a view of the taut license at the heart of the group's compositions. Here intervals are introduced and extrapolated upon in a thematic manner and discarded in favor of complete disintegration that gets reconstructed in the process of free blowing -- Waters' saxophone solo here is devastatingly phrased and executed, as the rhythm section forgets about keeping up; they do much more -- they provide a ground upon which he can eventually land. The communication on this date is nearly astonishing and the rapport between the players is instinctual at this point. If you cannot catch Goldsparkle live, this is easily the next best thing, and the most desirable of all of their recordings.

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