Free Jazz review by Stef Gissels

RED Trio + Nate Wooley – Stem (CF 249)
Their first record was a strong musical statement, their “Empire” album with John Butcher confirmed their musical vision and that exceptional power is equalled by this new album with Nate Wooley on trumpet. RED Trio are Rodrigo Pinheiro on piano, Hernâni Faustino on bass and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums.

No doubt the RED Trio is among the most fascinating piano trios of the moment. Without relinquishing the real jazz ingredients of harmony, repeated patterns and rhythm, they push this over the limit of convention into a far more expressive and sometimes terrifying sonic universe. They are not afraid to dive off musical cliffs, then requiring all the energy and teamwork to fly with grace, moving forward coherently, using sonic clusters and high outbursts of violence to change course if needed, or stop moving at all, hoping that somehow they will land safely, and they do, they do.

Then add Nate Wooley, the iconoclast of the trumpet, the artist whose instrument can sound as if he’d ripped it open from mouthpiece to horn before he started playing, the musician who knows how to turn sound into effect with the listener. The approach is exacerbated. The match is perfect.

Whether on the great intro piece “Flapping Flight”, or on the slow and mysterious second part of “Ellipse”, or the fully voiced anti-rhythmic madness of “Weight Slice”, or the barely audible of “Tides”,  … the match is perfect, the vision is coherent, the common tone spectacular, the outcome grandiose.

This is jazz at its very best. The opening track alone is worth the purchase. Listen how blues and bop and even romanticism are part of the language, but get distorted, intensified, turned into new levels of expressivity, in which the anguish and distress of today’s life are evocated, at the same level as sweetness and beauty, of a nature that is more difficult to capture, less sentimental, but deeper, more meaningful.

Highly recommended!

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