Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

Rob Brown Trio – Sounds (CF 077)
Rob Brown (alto saxophone) and Daniel Levin (cello) have been collaborating since 2003, but only with the addition of Satoshi Takeishi – a percussionist mixing Japanese taiko drums with the rest of his percussive arsenal – the trio reached its definitive form. “Sounds” is a gathering of ideas that appear totally delivered from genre constrictions; it’s neither “real” jazz (although the leader consider this a jazz group), nor chamber music and even improvisations sound somehow composed. The title track – divided into three movements – is the soundtrack to a multimedia performance in collaboration with the Nancy Zendora Dance Company and video artist Jo Wood-Brown, while “Tibetan Folk Song” takes a popular theme into the realms of freedom, the three using the few melodic colours at their disposal to expand and rebuild what originally was a simple, almost primal concept. Throughout “Sinew”, the feeling is one of looking at three musicians who catch what floats in the air to instantly reproduce it with their instruments, the whole contained by a configuration that, absurdly, seems to be pre-existing; but in the final ballad “Moment of pause” we have a glance to the essence of a more traditional jazz approach, and “Stutter Step” augments that vibe until rebellious dissonant accents spring out. The three instrumental voices shine collectively, their attentive consideration of each other’s propositions being the most important feature of the album. As Brown suggests, this music should be listened to without preconceptions.

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