Tripwire is this trio's second album. It had been recorded 14 months after Top Floor Encounter and consists of excerpts from a handful of concerts and studio sessions held in Berlin and Hamburg at the end of October and beginning of November 2001, while U.S. drummer Jeff Arnal visited his colleagues. The growth, the maturation of the trio is undeniable, even though the three of them probably didn't play together very much in the interval. No matter, this CD-R is two full steps above the first opus. Each player has gone a long way stripping his sound from any non-essential features. Alto sax Lars Scherzberg gets closer to John Butcher's style, letting silence creep in between his squeaks and finely crafted sprints. Bassist John Hughes seems to have taken a page from the book of Peter Kowald. As for Arnal, his drumming shifts from energy-driven rambles to close-listening shards of events. The trio builds impressive levels of intensity without resorting to volume. Each track is a cutting-edge free improv delight. On three tracks, the trio is joined by Dieter Eichmann, a German pianist who also runs the label Oaksmus (which released the trio's first CD). Pianist Alberto Braida and clarinetist Giancarlo Locatelli appear on another piece -- the dialogue established between the two reed instruments expands Scherzberg's palette. But in the end, the best moments happen when the trio is left alone, as in the last track. These three are among the first improvisers to integrate the experiments of Berlin reductionists (Axel Dörner, Burkhard Beins) without turning the idea into dogma. Highly recommended.
Share this page