Erik Friedlander: Topaz. 1998. Siam Records: SMD-50003.
Erik Friedlander: cello
Andy Laster: alto saxophone
Stomu Takeishi: electric bass
Satoshi Takeishi: percussion
The rhythm section of Takeishi and Takeishi lock in with an electric bass language of elastic, rubbery timbres and natural harmonics complimented by a soft touch on the cymbals and skins. Added to this inviting ground is the merging and diverging raspy tone of Friedlander's sawing against Laster's reedsmanship. This is a Friedlander led quartet, but each player cycles into sharp focus with enormous fluidity and I am struck by Andy Laster's sense of melody on this one.
Ellery Eskelin/Andrea Parkins/Jim Black: Five Other Pieces (+2). 1999. Hat Hut Records: hatOLOGY 533.
Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone
Andrea Parkins: accordion and sampler
Jim Black: percussion
Eskelin's "klangfarbenmelodie of textures" takes on particular clarity with his treatment of the five "other" pieces on here and it makes for a particularly satisfying listening experience. John McLaughlin's "The Dance of the Maya," John Coltrane's "India" and Charlie Haden's "Song for Che" retain all the same verve and immense appeal of the original versions while still drawing from a sonic pallet that is clearly Eskelin. Following these up with almost half an hour of original compositions makes for a compelling argument for Eskelin as an artist and innovative improviser worthy of comparisons to McLaughlin, Coltrane and Haden.
Marianne Trudel: Espaces libres. 2004. TRUD 2004.
Marianne Trudel: piano
Individually, the 16 tracks on this disc cover a lot of territory with poetic brevity and startling transitions. Taken as a whole, this is a unique pianistic voice with refined technique and an almost whimsical sense of phrasing. The shortness of these pieces leaves the ears hungry for longer expressions of extended intensity, which is part of its charm. There are shades of Abdullah Ibrahim, Erik Satie and Vince Guaraldi in this music. The ears come away deeply intrigued by this Montreal pianist.