Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

MI3 – Free advice (CF 098)

Mi3 are Pandelis Karayorgis (piano), Nate McBride (bass) and Curt Newton (drums). A trio that works on a multitude of levels, with an evident influence: Thelonious Monk, despite the absence of Monk pieces in this album (instead, Duke Ellington and Sun Ra tunes are featured). The M-factor is especially explicit in the leader’s style, which privileges frequent tangential runs and semi-flourished chords in which minor second intervals are dropped like obvious consonances. But it’s not all there: Karayorgis is also very adept in polyrhythms, the composed meters that he displays throughout “Case in point” constituting a great example of fresh virtuosity over a freely swinging, liberal rhythm section. Speaking of which, McBride confirms himself as one of the most interesting bassists around, his timbre at once marauding and tradition-rooted, the interpretation always perfectly on cue with what the screenwriting of an improvisation calls for. On the opposite side, Newton is the third of a perfect pair, in that his fragmented percussive curiosity indemnifies those – such as this listener – whose capacity of bearing jazz’s “codified freedom” has sunk to an all-time low. This music is not literally unpredictable, mind you; yet the drift-anchor elements that it contains are more welcome than undesirable, providing a few points that, once linked, define an already well-developed sketch. A large-minded method of approaching one’s past while keeping both eyes on the future.

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