JazzReview review by Glenn Astarita

cf-115Trio Viriditas – Live At Vision Festival VI (CF 115)
The band’s fruition began in 2000 during German native and multi-reedman Alfred Harth’s residence in New York City, when he aligned with bassist Wilber Morris and drummer/vibraphonist Kevin Norton.  Sadly, in 2002 Morris passed away.  But, the trio’s performance and recording endeavors sparked a great deal of interest and excitement within the global jazz community.  It’s a facet that continues thanks to this 2008 release, culled from the group’s 2001 gig at New York City’s Vision Festival and serves as a glowing reminder of the musicians’ astonishing synergy and seemingly endless flow of ideas.  Here, depth and cunning use of space signify just two components of their resonating developments within the free-form and progressive-jazz realms.

Enhanced by the superb live audio transfer to disc, the trio is a multitasking machine, anchored by Morris and Norton’s polytonal rhythmic underpinnings.  And it’s a democratic engagement where Harth’s clarinet and sax lines profess a variety of probing storylines amid his band-mates’ oscillating pulses and call/response mechanisms.  In effect, the musicians cast a horde of emotive aspects, whether its Harth’s gruff and edgy tonalities or when Norton paints quaint little portraitures via his deft vibes work. 

They merge a somber tone with a bluesy gait, accelerated by Harth’s plaintive cries on the aptly titled “Melancholy.”  However, the trio adds another dimension to the program, largely due to Harth’s concise pocket trumpet excursions atop a staggered beat, evidenced within the smack and jab parameters of “Viriditas Waltz.” Moreover, the artists engage in furious improvisational exercises, complete with abrupt spikes and melodically tinged movements.  Sure enough, the unit moves forward with the grace of a deer navigating through a forest while also depicting the knockout punch of a heavyweight champ defending his title.  There’s lots for the mind’s eye to ponder throughout this irrefutably, persuasive outing.


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