It's not often that an improv trio revisits the pop music ideologies of the early '60s to make startlingly new music, but that's exactly what the trio on Trad Corrosion has attempted to do. There are 19 tunes on Trad Corrosion, all of them under three minutes and all of them recorded in a midrange in a Berlin studio to take advantage of the notion of a one-speaker transistor radio -- the transmission element of a simpler time. In their brevity, chances are taken in these tunes that would never be attempted otherwise. For starters, there's Phil Haynes' "Etude," which is divvied up into four parts, spread throughout the album and out of order. Different instrumentation is used on each segment. Then there is the rock & roll side of "Flying in a Nutshell," where Haynes' drums and Andreas Willers' guitar duel to the death in the space of two and a half minutes. Finally, Gebhard Ullmann moves through a startling array of tones and tapestries on bass clarinet on both the "Etude" pieces and his own "Gospel," rooted deeply in the blues of Sunday morning; hung over and repentant, the churchgoer vows his undying devotion -- at least until next Saturday night -- to the god of his choosing. The trio interplay here happens only intermittently, as the album focuses more on duets and solo pieces, but it's of no consequence -- each pairing or threesome is infused with a reckless spirit of invention, both tonal and harmonic. Trad Corrosion may not look as deeply as its title suggests at corroding tradition, but does reveal how corroded it is, just enough for a music like this to be considered almost palatable by mainstream jazz sources.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek