Kris Davis/Ingrid Laubrock/Tyshawn Sorey – Paradoxical Frog (CF 183)
While the commanding drummer Tyshawn Sorey has been known for his mathematical and muscular intensity in settings with Steve Coleman, Fieldwork, Steve Lehman and other groups, he also boasts a fascinating free sensibility, as heard on this intriguing trio date. Lines and musical sympathies converge beautifully in this group, between the flexible German-born saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, Canadian-born pianist Kris Davis and Sorey, who provides the musical glue and summons proper degrees of abandon, restraint and ensemble-minded structural articulation.
With Laubrock’s gentle-to-feverish title cut up front (its name referring to the actual, incredible “shrinking frog”), the trio nicely sets the stage for what’s to come. In the longest track on the album, Sorey’s 14-minute “Slow Burn,” Laubrock and Sorey weave in and out of dynamic levels over the hypnotic, elongated gridlike pattern of Davis’ left-hand bassline. “Ghost Machine” has a nattering cadence, nervous yet hip, and “On the Six” blends Laubrock’s angular long-toned ruminations, Sorey’s rumbling mallet work and Davis’ cluster-chord punctuations.
The final piece, a tribute to Morton Feldman simply titled “Feldman,” has some of the cool, pregnant airiness of that acclaimed experimentalist’s music, with melodic lines meandering and setting up false resolutions on the path to further adventures. Sorey’s empathic trio presents a colorful and convincing example of post-free jazz, mixing intricate rhythmic notions, introspective musings and moments of cathartic release. More, please.