Unusual trio play chamber jazz in a distinctly unusual setting...
Peter Marsh 2006-07-20
Very few jazz records have been made in 'site-specific' circumstances that I can think of. Paul Horn's flute improvisations in the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramid are maybe the best known, but usually such ventures are left to those on the fringes of jazz (and usually those in search of cavernous ECM style acoustics).
This one's a bit different. Recorded during 2005's JazzBaltica festival, it features the trio of Lars Danielsson (bass), Nils Landgren (trombone) and Christopher Dell (vibes). This isn't a typical festival performance though; the musicians set up at 5am by the Salzau palace pond, inside an installation made by artists Ilya Kabakov and Vladimir Tarasov (also of the Ganelin Trio).
Constructed from scaffolding, metallic 'sound rods' and strung with steel wires and suspended items of cutlery, the installation provides a gentle undertow of percussive clinks behind the trio's improvisations. Alongside that, there's the murmur of the dawn chorus, the sound of sleepy festivalgoers and the occasional gurgle from the pond, all captured in a quite beautiful recording.
Fluid, sinuous and full of texture,Landgren's trombone playing here is worlds away from the lame funk parping he trots out on his solo records, recalling Albert Manglesdorff's breathy multiphonics and Bob Brookmeyer's uber-precise virtuosity.Dell's lucid chording and faintly Javanese patterns are underpinned by Danielsson's dark, spongy bass work. Though the trio work up some passges of quietly intense funk (even indulging in a spot of vocal beatboxing), the mood is mainly expansive, reflective. Really lovely stuff. You'll wish you'd been there.