ejazz news review by Glenn Astarita

Martin Speicher/Georg Wolf/Lou Grassi – Shapes and Shadows (CF 084)

This trio’s impetus is designed upon a cornerstone of free-improv and spontaneous composition. Here, reedman Martin Speicher darts around the rhythm section with jabs, upper-cuts and soaring frenzies. They circumnavigate various pulses amid quiet moments that often bust out into pounding accents and tumultuous storylines. On the piece titled “Le Star,” drummer Lou Grassi and bassist Georg Wolf anchor Speicher’s free-form blues lines, consisting of a sequence of pops, squeaks and topsy-turvy upper register phrasings. In spots, Speicher pronounces notions of loneliness and desolation, but more often than not, the rhythm section comes to the rescue as they encircle his parameters with boisterous escapades. Then on “Alors! Bill Dit,” Speicher generates minimalist-type panoramas via softly uttered lines, nicely counterbalanced by Grassi’s world-music percussion groove. Overall, the band pursues a credo that rings loud and clear as they enter discovery mode amid synergistic interplay and a ballsy approach – it all translates into something rather special.

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