Streulet, Le Courrier, Suisse, 27 juin 2009
avec Oliver Lake, Guillaume Belhomme, sur Le son du grisli, France,
Mandel, Jazzthetik, Deutschland, Juli/August 2009
Mit dem TRIO 3, dem blankschädligen
Verbund des Altosaxophonisten Oliver Lake (*1942), des Kontrabassisten
Reggie Workman (*1937) und des Drummers Andrew Cyrille (*1939), ist
man so nah am Herzen der Great Black Music wie es nur geht. Der Auftakt
von At This Time (Intakt CD 162), 'Swamini (for Alice Coltrane/Turiyanasangitananda)‘,
eine Komposition ihrer Partnerin, der Pianistin GERI ALLEN (*1957),
und auch der zweite Song, Eric Dolphys 'Gazzeloni‘, führen
in das halbmythische Heroenzeitalter dieser Musik. Als Workman mit Coltrane
spielte und Cyrille mit Cecil Taylor, gehörte ein Klavier so selbstverständlich
dazu wie Whisky und Zigaretten. Allen, die in Altmans Kansas City Mary
Lou Williams verkörperte, war nur ein junger Trieb an dem alten
Baum, an dem man bei 'Lake‘s Jump‘ schwingt, das Curtis
Clark für Lake geschrieben hat. Wer mehr oder etwas anderes wollte,
der sägte an Ästen und besonders gern am Klavier. Auch das
Trio 3 begann 1986 ohne. Das Spiel mit Irene Schweizer (Berne Concert)
und nun Allen ist daher wie eine neugierige Rückkehr in ältere,
d.h. jüngere Tage, als Allen in New York zuerst mit Lake‘s
Jump Up spielte und Cyrille 1984 auf ihrem Leaderdebut The Printmakers.
Statt junger Löwen schätzt man heute die ewige Jugend, in
der die Vier mit souveräner Finesse Akzente setzen, dunkle Arcostriche,
Almglocken und Innenklaviergehopse bei 'For Patrik L.‘, einer
Dankadresse an den Intaktmacher, Basketballtempo und rasante Tripplings
bei 'All Net‘ und 'Current‘, Schmus und Innenklaviergezirpe
bei Lakes 'Long Melody‘ und sein vogeliges Geflöte bei Cyrilles
träumerischem 'Tey‘, Congatamtam bei 'Barbara‘s Rainbow‘.
Den Abschluss macht wieder Allen mit 'In the Realm... of the Child...‘,
ein Wiegenlied und Nachtgebet, das Cyrille in einen luftigen Marsch
verwandelt und das mit einer Ausblende verklingt.
Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, Deutschland, 63/2009
The publicity surrounding
the release of At This Time is making much of the addition of a pianist
to Trio 3's saxophone, bass and drums line-up. Arguably, however, the
inclusion of a keyboard, played by Geri Allen, isn't the album's most
significant feature. True, during the course of the group's 23-year
history, most of its work has been piano-less. But its unofficial curtain-raiser,
Synthesis (Leo, 1986), made under bassist Reggie Workman's name, featured
pianist Marilyn Crispell alongside the trio of Workman, altoist Oliver
Lake and drummer Andrew Cyrille. More recently, pianist Irene Schweizer
augmented the line-up for Berne Concert (Intakt, 2007).
What is, perhaps, more significant here is the span of generations and
outlooks embodied by the musicians. Workman and Cyrille were born within
a couple of years of each other in the late 1930s and first came to
notice among the avant-garde of the 1960s, Workman in bands led by saxophonist
John Coltrane, Cyrille with pianist Cecil Taylor. Lake, born in 1944,
is a few years older, but came up in a similar milieu, his playing heavily
informed, at least initially, by radical 1960s reed player and occasional
Coltrane collaborator Eric Dolphy. Those earlier guest pianists, Crispell
(born 1947) and Schweitzer (born 1941), are of more or less the same
Allen, relatively speaking, is the new kid on the block. Born in 1957,
she was a child during the stylistic revolutions of the 1960s, and though
she subsequently rewound her listening to absorb the icons of that era,
she is firmly in the post-modern mould of more recent decades, her multi-faceted
approach referencing an eclectic range of styles.
Allen's love of tunes and chord progressions, and her flowing rhapsodism,
make her an imaginative choice of partner for Trio 3 and the meeting
works marvelously. While they have substance, neither "All Net"
and "Current," the duo of tracks halfway through the album
whose intensity and abstraction are more characteristic of the trio's
work, linger as long in the mind as other, more structured and mellifluous
pieces. Allen's opener, "Swamini," begins and ends with the
impressionistic arpeggios and cadenzas, finger cymbals and Eastern sonorities
associated with pianist and harpist Alice Coltrane, to whom it is dedicated.
Dolphy's faster, spikier "Gazzeloni," which follows, is more
in the hue of pianist/composer Thelonious Monk, and Allen's centerpiece
solo is full of Monkish note clusters and percussive emphases. "Lake's
Jump" is a hard swinging, medium fast blues with throwaway references
to the bop warhorse "Night In Tunisia" in its theme. At 8:25
it's the longest track and features solid in-the-tradition saxophone,
piano and bass solos.
Lake switches to flute for Cyrille's slow drag "Tey," a refreshing
solace just shy of six lovely minutes. And while Allen's closing "In
The Realm Of The Child Of True Humanity Within" doesn't explicitly
reference Alice Coltrane's playing, it is informed by her spirit. Moving
from pretty to turbulent and back again, At This Time rings some engaging
changes for Trio 3.
Chris May, AllaboutJazz.com,
USA, Juli 09, 2009
The trio of Lake, Workman
and Cyrille is, by now, seasoned in the right way. All three players
are relative veterans and the depth of their shared musical understanding
is obvious in everything they do. This time, Geri Allen's pianist's
skill is an amalgam of Paul Bley and Andrew Hill harmonically speaking,
though it's only fair to emphasize that such names are merely points
of reference, to accentuate the self-contained nature of her musical
All the experience implied here wouldn't amount to much if the music
produced led to a whole lot of nothing, but the opposite is true. The
shared group identity does not result in the negation of the members'
individual voices. The trick is pulled off with no little skill, especially
with reference to Eric Dolphy's "Gazzeloni." If ever a musician
was equipped with the resources and trenchancy of opinion necessary
to do justice to Dolphy's perhaps increasingly enigmatic music, then
Oliver Lake's the man. He turns in a solo to prove it, all irregular
intervallic leaps and off-kilter ebullience.
Lake's "Long Melody" provides a reflective interlude, proving
that the mood comes easily when a group is as empathetic as this one.
The subtle dynamics don't diminish the momentum of the piece, but it's
not as if velocity is something the performance overtly strives for.
In the interest of those dynamics, both Allen and drummer Andrew Cyrille
deploy an augmented vocabulary and the end result creates a craving
for more of this shaded, essentially timeless methodology.
Cyrille's reflective "Tey" offers proof—if ever needed—that
he's one of the highly select band of drummers who also happen to be
distinctive composers. Lake, on flute, portrays James Spaulding in his
ability to bring two different sensibilities to bear on both his alto
saxophone and flute work. The result is compelling, especially as the
entire band has a collective and highly evolved understanding of tension
and release. When Allen starts in on her solo, it's a quietly glorious
moment in itself, rendered all the more so by the individual yet entirely
unmannered essence of her playing.
"Barbara's Rainbow" is a group credit, and assuming it's an
in-the-moment creation, it's a credit to this group's ever-present shared
understanding. Lake has always been a distinct stylist on soprano sax
too, and here he proves the point once again, much to this album's benefit.
Nic Jones, Allaboutjazz.com,
USA, July 24, 2009
30-odd years ago, the lineup
of Trio 3—a veritable supergroup—might have seemed surprising.
By the mid-'70s, drummer Andrew Cyrille had fed polyrhythmic invention
to Cecil Taylor's unit structures and tuned drums for ten years, while
bassist Reggie Workman was known for his work with Coltrane and a number
of Blue Note artists. Reedman Oliver Lake, who had relocated to New
York from St. Louis via Paris, was a former member of the Black Artists
Group, an AACM parallel organization. All of that history is important
to recognizing where Trio 3 comes from and how their aesthetic, alternating
between frenetic harrying salvos and sparser collective calls, might
differ from a number of extremely capable "power trios" on
the contemporary scene.
Trio 3 + Geri
At This Time
One might think that adding a pianist to the equation would shake
up the order enough that the longstanding group aesthetic is turned
on its head. However, Trio 3 is an open enough group that the addition
of a strong fourth personality shifts the dynamic rather than changing
it. Two new recordings add, alternately, Geri Allen and Irene Schweizer
to the proceedings. Allen has, in fact, become a regular participant,
first joining the trio in 2008. On At This Time, her first recording
with Trio 3, the fit is clear.
Allen's keen awareness of tense space and how to punctuate and drive
it up a notch are evident from plucked piano strings, wooden knocks
and, on Lake's "Long Melody," unsettling paper rustle. Alternately,
her pointillist blues are laconic behind Lake's flute on "Tey"
or rumbling gospel on "Lake's Jump." A consummate postbop
number, jaunty and with a hairy turnaround in its theme, the latter
is a beautiful example of the work of this augmented trio. As the group
spreads out into a modal plateau a minute in, delicate glassy mobiles
orbit around Lake's acrid alto. Bubble and grit characterize his solo
over a skipping beat, the rug constantly being tugged but never quite
pulled out. Miniature runs, fiery spit and roiling pools from Allen's
fingers flesh out the piece, her own statement an inner dialogue echoing,
clambering and advancing into spiky floridity. She returns to ambiguous
shading for Workman's taut pizzicato solo before the head returns. It's
a downright tiring performance, in the best sense, and encompasses only
part of what this unit can do.
Trio 3 + Irene Schweizer
Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer worked with Cyrille in the latter
half of the '80s, but Berne Concert is their first recording together
in a full-band context. Though certainly both Schweizer and Allen have
an affinity for Paul Bley, not to mention commanding the range of textures
available both inside and outside the piano, they are more different
than similar. Schweizer is a volcanic player whose motives have a painterly
cast and rhythmic cells that, while recalling Cecil Taylor, are rougher
and more impulsive. There's almost a clash of voices in Lake's composition
"Flow" that opens the set—her rhythmic approach seems
contradictory to the saxophonist's squirrely bebop, an epic command
of the keyboard's breadth in rapid, thick gestures. Cyrille and Workman
seem much more comfortable in this case, the drummer dissecting her
phrases while maintaining extraordinary plasticity.
Unlike At This Time, Berne Concert presents duos and trios as well as
the quartet—a piano-bass duet begins with tentative rumbling and
delicate, tart chordal voicings as Schweizer follows Workman's pliant
solemnity with gradually increasing drive. On "Timbral Interplay,"
a woven, minimal carpet of mallets and toms gives support to the pianist's
contrasting network of phrase-rhythms, evidence of the rapport between
Schweizer and Cyrille. Though a bit disjointed at times, Berne Concert
presents four of the music's most creative figures going for broke—the
result is tremendously exciting, even if not always successful.
Clifford Allen, Allaboutjazz.com,
USA, August 8, 2009
about Geri Allen, from Greg Thomas, All about Jazz New York, USA, August
Geri Allen: Journey
to the Light
Geri Allen's playing and compositional efforts manifest a stylistic
flexibility grounded in her absorption of the lessons of the masters
of the jazz idiom, and her desire to innovate upon that legacy. As an
apprentice during high school and college, and then as a journeywoman,
Allen has kept company with musical legends.
She just returned from a very successful European tour with "Timeline,"
a jazz quartet which integrates tap dance into its core arrangements;
Maurice Chestnut is the dancer. She recently led an All-Star group featuring
Ravi Coltrane and Jeff "Tain" Watts at the Iridium in Manhattan.
Allen has illuminated the band stands of Betty Carter, Ornette Coleman,
Dave Holland, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Lester Bowie, Charles Lloyd,
Ron Carter, and Jack DeJohnette. At various points in her career, she
has also worked with the men of the long-established Trio 3 ensemble:
Andrew Cyrille, Oliver Lake and Reggie Workman. She considers the collaboration
on the just-released Trio 3 recording At This Time one of the highlights
of her journey.
Trio 3 was formed without a pianist so bassist Workman, drummer Cyrille,
and alto saxophonist and flutist Oliver Lake could explore harmonic
conceptions freely. Workman says Allen's "tasteful and intellectual
approach" made her the most logical choice for a "musical
conversation with a chordal instrumentalist who also has a unique approach
to improvisation and composition.
"Being deeply rooted in a wide variety of music and styles gives
her the necessary strength and conviction. One can readily notice her
quick, tasteful spontaneity as she approaches each challenge put before
her," Workman said. His band mate Cyrille, equally skilled in free
and straight-ahead jazz, made note of the "soulfulness and beauty
in her playing. She ranks at the top with those other pianists of her
generation who have absorbed what has gone before in this music and
continue to play and develop new music concepts that we can presently
participate in and enjoy, while laying foundations for future generations
of musicians as well."
Allen feels that melding her conception with the Trio 3 ensemble links
her to the artistic heritage of each: "I feel very honored to be
a part of that connection. There's a power, authenticity, and honesty
in At This Time. A personal power and fearlessness comes through. I'm
just excited, at this point of my musical journey, to have the opportunity
to enjoy being creative with these three musicians again."
In 2008 Allen, an Associate Professor of Jazz And Contemporary Improvisation
at the University Of Michigan (in Ann Arbor), was awarded a Guggenheim
fellowship, which she has used to compose a solo recording, Refractions:
Flying Toward the Sound, soon to be released by Motema Music. Refractions,
or the change in direction that occurs when a wave of energy such as
light passes from one medium to another, signifies Allen's dance with
Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock, three of music's most
important pianists, and three of her major influences.
The beautiful, soft-spoken Allen was born in Pontiac, Michigan and reared
in Detroit. She attributes her love of jazz to her father: "I remember
seeing his records and the beautiful art work on them, and how elegant,
stylish and sophisticated the people were. People like Ellington, Charlie
Parker, Sarah, Ella. He played the music all the time when my brother
Mount and I were little.
"I remember my mother taking us to the Young People's concerts
at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. We watched Leonard Bernstein's concerts
on television as well, and I remember the piano really resonating with
me." She began playing the piano at 7, and studied with Patricia
Wilhelm from the beginning through high school. Wilhelm, a graduate
of the University of Cincinnati Music School, introduced the young pianist
to a solid method of practice. Allen studied much of the European piano
repertoire, and her teacher also encouraged Allen's love for jazz. "That
type of open-mindedness was unusual at the time, and although she had
no real knowledge of jazz, she instinctively understood it took the
same level discipline and study European classical did, and she respected
Her early experience in the Christian church was another source of musical
grounding and spiritual awareness. "I went to church every Sunday
growing up, and have memories of our pastor; he was brilliant. Music
was a key part of the experience. I would sometimes play for the choir
and even sang in the choir. That experience laid a foundation for my
future interest in the sacred works of Mary Lou Williams."
Her grandfather, Mount Vernell Allen, was a Methodist minister, and
Geri comes from a family of educators. "I understood that there
was a fundamental connection in my family to spirituality. My mother
is my role model still, and her kindness, gentle nature and firm self-awareness
are still my goals today. My father was a Principal in the Detroit public
schools for 35 years, and made a huge impact on many young people whom
were fortunate to come under his guidance and wisdom. My family has
always been very spiritually based, and focused on helping the community
through education. Music was my way of expressing that same kind of
desire to connect."
The Detroit public schools produced some of the most exceptional musical
talent the world has known. Allen considers herself very fortunate for
the education she received there. She began attending Cass Technical
High School in 1972. The school is famous for graduates such as Donald
Byrd, Ron Carter and Milt Jackson.
"The teachers had an expectation that was very high. It made us
rise to that expectation. From the beginning, when I stepped in there,
I knew it was no joke. I had one teacher there, Marilyn Jones, who ran
the jazz ensemble. Her husband was a jazz musician. She put the whole
Smithsonian Jazz Collection together as a source of study for us. I
also sang in the school's Madrigals Choir, and iconic trumpeter Donald
Byrd was so good as to allow us to perform his beautiful and challenging
vocal work, A New Perspective."
Another trumpeter master, Marcus Belgrave, a bebopper who played at
Motown and with Ray Charles, also did a residence at Cass High School.
"He was really helpful in organizing Detroit's musicians. Marcus
suggested that instead of having the young people pick up trash in the
streets in the summer, that they form a big band, rehearse all day,
and sit next to master musicians from the area such as Roy Brooks, the
McKinney brothers, Lamont Hamilton, and Kenny Cox. That's brilliant.
Kenny Garrett, Bob Hurst, Eli Fontaine and I would be paid to practice
"Marcus was my entree into clubs. After he completed his artist-in-residency
at Cass, I brought him some of my early, fledgling compositions. They
weren't very good, but to encourage me he booked studio time, and brought
in some great musicians to play my songs. That validated me as a composer;
that said to me, this is something you can pursue. Under Marcus, we
had a very open environment. It was the same with drummer Roy Brooks.
These generous master musicians were paving a way for our generation,
as well as the next generation. Regina Carter and James Carter also
benefited from this experience."
Howard University in Washington D.C. was the next stop on her musical
excursion. "Washington was a very rich experience. I went to Howard
pursuing Donald Byrd, but by the time I got there he had moved on, so
I then had the good fortune to study with John Malachi, who was a member
of the famous Billy Eckstine band. Sarah Vaughan was also in the band,
and later John continued working with her as her pianist. John Malachi
was a wonderful teacher; he showed me 'Ruby, My Dear' exactly the way
Monk had showed him. He'd talk about Mary Lou Williams often, and how
gracious she was, and how she would open up her home to all of the piano
players, a piano salon experience. He talked about Art Tatum and how
he'd play all night if you just gave him a beer. Monk would be there.
Bud Powell would be there as would Dr. Billy Taylor, whom I am honored
to say became my mentor, and continues to be a great inspiration for
Allen has had a great friendship over the years with Fr. Peter O'Brien,
S.J., the Executive Director of The Mary Lou Williams Foundation. He
has shared memories of Mary Lou Williams with Allen, and together they
formed the Mary Lou Williams Collective for the performance of her extensive
body of work. As Musical Director, Allen recorded Zodiac Suite:
Revisited with Buster Williams, Billy Hart and Andrew Cyrille.
She also played Mary Lou Williams in Robert Altman's 1997 feature film,
Kansas City. Allen is also currently in discussion with film maker Carol
Bash about composing the music for the upcoming documentary on Williams,
The Lady Who Swings The Band.
"In 1982, I moved to Pittsburgh and was encouraged by Dr. Nathan
Davis, who has a wonderful program at the University of Pittsburgh,
to study ethnomusicology. I wasn't quite ready for New York, and did
want to further my studies, and advance my playing. Dr. Davis offered
me a teaching assistantship towards a Master's in Ethnomusicology. During
that period, I spoke with musicians there who knew Mary Lou, and I actually
lived for a while in East Liberty, where she grew up. Her iconic career
was very illuminating. I was greatly moved by her work as a pianist,
a composer, a conceptualist and as a free thinker. She knew who she
was, she knew her worth, and she unapologetically pursued her artistry.
I'm grateful to her for so many things."
Williams, who would have been 100 years old in 2010, inspired Allen's
"For The Healing Of The Nations," a Sacred Jazz Suite in a
choral setting written in tribute to the families, victims and survivors
of the 9/11 tragedy. The title of the suite comes from the Bible and
centers on various sacred texts. "God, the center, the core of
our strength and the power of love and healing, is the only place I
could look to, to find comfort when such things happen. The poet, and
initiate of the project, Sandra Turner Barnes wrote much of the poetry
other than the sacred texts."
Geri Allen cites coming from a strong spiritually-based family, participating
in the Madrigals at Cass under Marilyn Jones, Mary Lou's Music For
Peace, and her love for the voice as the main elements which helped
to pave the way for her sacred jazz suite.
"Music can change the ethers; I know this as I listen to Coltrane's
A Love Supreme. Whatever's going on, the music draws the Light.
I think that's what this music has always really been about: people
finding ways to express the Light even in the midst of darkness, finding
a way to it through the power of the Spirit."
Greg Thomas, Article "Geri Allen: Journey to the Light",
USA, August 27, 2009
Trio 3 first convened for
Intakt in 2005 when Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille made
Time Being, an interesting and episodically excellent record
that in retrospect seems compromised by the need to make space for three
very powerful and very different musical personalities. The group was
featured again with guest Irène Schweizer on a 2007 concert recording
from Berne. And now the guest role is taken by Geri Allen, who has a
history with all three members, as well as a longer history as a younger
or distaff foil to senior players; the breakthrough trios with Paul
Motian and Charlie Haden spring to mind.
That one thinks of Allen in this notionally patronizing way is a measure
of how oddly inconsistent her recording career has been since she worked
with Cyrille on The Printmakers twenty five years ago. The
business, Blue Note attention notwithstanding, has never known quite
what to do with her enormous but quietly stated talent, and anyone who
really wants to take a full measure of her skills probably needs to
hunt up sets like this as well as her few available CDs as leader. A
recent Telarc contract, while kind to her in terms of piano sound –
Telarc engineers know how to make 88 keys sound like an orchestra –
hasn’t been the most fruitful creatively.
Allen seems the dominant spirit behind the opening tribute to Alice
Coltrane and seems to be channeling Mary Lou Williams on the closing
‘In the Realm . . . of the Child . . . of True Humanity Within
(Gospel of Mary)’. She’s less confidently assertive on the
two group improvisations, including one dedicated to Intakt producer
Patrik Landolt, or less immediately so, for subsequent hearings suggest
how confidently she shapes a performance now with fewer and fewer gestures.
One’s doubts about the chemistry that goes to the making of Trio
3 remain largely in place. Lake’s an obliging and accommodating
fellow and takes a lovely feature on Eric Dolphy’s flute piece
‘Gazzeloni’. Elsewhere, though, he does sometimes struggle
for a place at table. Workman and Cyrille are estimably generous players,
but both have so much to say, individually and in cross-talk, that it’s
hard for anyone else to get through. The group has obvious festival
appeal and the kind of weight to attract interesting collaborators,
but it’s hard to see – and hear – this as anything
other than a moderately happy mésalliance of combative seniors.
That said; would I turn out if they rolled through town? I’d be
first in line, and I’ll no doubt be playing At This Time again.
Brian Morton, www.pointofdeparture.org, Issue 24 - August
Solothurnmann, Jazz n' More, Schweiz, September/Oktober 2009
Bergerot, Jazzmagazine, France, Septembre 2009
Die beste komplett frei spielende
Pianistin aus der Schweiz, eben Irène Schweizer, spielte 2007
in Bern ein Live-Album mit dem konzentriert-impulsiv agierenden Trio
Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman und Oliver Lake ein. Das Trio ist hier
nun unter ganz anderen musikalischen Vorzeichen mit der Detroiter bzw.
nun New Yorker Pianistin Geri Allen zu hören: einmal mehr zeigt
sich, wie sich dieses nahezu auf dreischenkeliger Faltung - inklusive
aller dialektischen Ausreißer - basierende Trio für balance-anrührende
Elemente öffnen kann, ohne dass sich der energetische Spielfluss
und das kompositorische Konzept vermindern würde. Erprobt wurde
diese Spielart bereits mit der Pianistin Marylin Crispell, die hier
demonstrierte Herangehensweise von Allen jedoch führt am tiefsten
in die Interaktion von PostBop-Harmonik, Komposition und Improvisation
hinein. Das Dolphy-Stück "Gazzeloni" ist historischer
Zeuge dafür, die weiteren Stücke sind sehr gereifte akustische
Aussagen, Diskussionen und Vorschläge, wie sie nur von äußerst
bewussten Spielern praktiziert werden können. Ein definitiver Höhepunkt
des zeitgenössischen Jazz. This music is current!
"made my day" by HONKER, TERZ 09.09
The alto saxophonist Oliver
Lake, the bassist Reggie Workman and the drummer Andrew Cyrille share
an agenda of rugged epiphany. They have pursued that ideal separately
over the last four decades, as tireless exponents of the jazz avant-garde.
And they have occasionally sought out the same causes together, as a
sort of supergroup called Trio 3.
For its brief stand at the Iridium on Thursday and yesterday, that ensemble
was rendered numerically incorrect by the addition of a pianist, Geri
Allen. (If there was any impulse to adopt temporarily the name Trio
4, no one mentioned it.) The big question was whether the group could
fully accommodate another strong voice, without bending in its purpose.
The answer was uncertain during the first couple of songs on Thursday
night. “Valley Sketch,” the piece by Mr. Lake that opened
the set, felt like a warm-up, as Ms. Allen played vague and tentative
chords over a strangely plodding march tempo. Then came a tune with
a half-time Latin groove, which still seemed noticeably unsettled.
These issues might have had more to do with basic preparedness than
with the presence of Ms. Allen, a member of the first jazz generation
to encounter the avant-garde as something other than an insurrection.
At 50, she is roughly two decades younger than Mr. Workman and Mr. Cyrille,
and roughly a dozen years younger than Mr. Lake: the right age to have
absorbed free improvisation as a thread in the canvas of jazz tradition.
(It’s no fluke that she is one of the only pianists to have recorded
with Ornette Coleman.)
And in any case, it was “Angels,” a brooding theme by Ms.
Allen, that snapped the band around. It began as a pianistic rumble,
with an attendant rustle of husks and shells. Eventually Mr. Workman
set up a syncopated drone, over which Mr. Lake ventured the first of
several grippingly intemperate improvisations. Ms. Allen followed with
a solo full of flinty jabs, sounding tough enough to invite an unyielding
barrage from Mr. Cyrille.
That level of intensity hardly slackened through the rest of the set.
On another Latin-flavored piece, Mr. Lake dug into a sequence of mercurial
cascades, putting a sharp burr in his tone; when the rhythm shifted
into swing for Ms. Allen, she exercised a probing sort of flair. Mr.
Workman’s composition “November 1” took the form of
an extended tone poem, which occasioned a free-form yet evocatively
boppish drum solo.
At times there was no discernable division between Ms. Allen and the
established core of Trio 3. And when there was a separation, it felt
usefully provocative. The collaboration pushed all parties toward new
solutions, and for artists like these, that’s a clear sign of
Nate Chinen, THE NEW YORK TIMES, USA, July
17, 2009 (Direct
Joris, Jazzmozaïek, Belgium, Fall 2009
Adams, Jazz Journal, GB, Nov 2009
Margasak, Downbeat, USA, November 2009
Dopo ventitré anni di esistenza, il Trio3 del contraltista Oliver
Lake, del contrabbassista Reggie Workman e del batterista Andrew Cyrille
si arricchisce di un nuovo partecipante, la pianista Geri Allen.
In realtà, il gruppo nasce non ufficialmente (la vera data d'inizio
è il 1988) in occasione di una collaborazione discografica con
la pianista Marilyn Crispell nel 1986 e nel 2007 si avvale anche del
solismo di una pianista come Irene Schweizer (Berne Concert). La Allen
collabora con il gruppo già dal 2008 ed ha sicuramente contribuito
ad arricchire e a veicolare in qualche modo più attraente una
formula votata a un'improvvisazione non vincolata agli usuali schemi
Lake, Reggie Workman e Andrew Cyrille costituiscono una sorta di enciclopedia
dell'improvvisazione africana-americana degli ultimi quarantacinque/cinquant'anni.
Se il valore di interpreti ed esecutori come Workman e Cyrille non può,
semplicemente, essere messo in discussione, il più giovane Oliver
Lake ha spesso sofferto, nella sua lunga permanenza in un collettivo
come il World Saxophone Quartet, di paragoni sfavorevoli rispetto all'indubbia
genialità di Julius Hemphill; in qualche modo, per quanto conosciuto
e apprezzato, egli rimane un artista drammaticamente sottovalutato o,
comunque, non preso sul serio a sufficienza.
Questa incisione esibisce la realtà di uno strumentista, invece,
duttile e poetico, capace di imporsi anche come compositore attento
al recupero di molti valori tradizionali della cultura africana-americana.
Per quanto l'ingresso della Allen in Trio3 abbia conferito un volto
più mobile e vario all'improvvisazione organica del complesso
(come provano pagine diverse fra di loro come "Swamini" e
"In the Realm...of the Child... of True Humanity Within (Gospel
of Mary)," vicine alla sensibilità di Alice Coltrane, o
la dolphyana "Gazzelloni"), è la personalità
schiva di Oliver Lake ad emergere in questa incisione.
Il melodico e raffinato eclettismo della Allen, la sua conoscenza della
tradizione, la sua capacità di elaborare un linguaggio complesso
e inequivocabilmente legato alla contemporaneità, ma non vincolato
ai contesti informali delle avanguardie degli anni Sessanta, sanno imporre
ai membri del Trio3 un campo più definito e concreto in cui agire.
E' soprattutto Lake a beneficiarne, mostrandosi espressivo solista anche
al flauto in "Tey," lirica composizione firmata da Cyrille.
Se un brano come "All Net" percorre le vie dell'improvvisazione
più aperta, per quanto priva di sperimentalismi velleitari, una
composizione come "Lake's Jump," del pianista Curtis Clark,
offre al gruppo la possibilità di riassumere, con bella prova
idiomatica e impeccabile senso ritmico, l'intero vocabolario del post-bop.
L'ingresso di un'artista di forte personalità come la Allen ovviamente
modifica gli equilibri consolidati del trio: At This Time pare essere,
di conseguenza, un'opera di transizione, foriera di nuovi, interessanti
sviluppi, come provano "Barbara's Rainbow" e la già
citata "In The Realm... Of The Child... Of True Humanity Within
(Gospel of Mary)".
Gianni M. Gualberto,
All About Jazz Italia, 2009
Fordham, The Guardian, UK, 16.1.2010
of 2009, By Werner Barth, Jazztime, Radio BRF1, Belgium
piano is immediately recognizable on AT THIS TIME, an album of (mostly)
dedications. The opening tribute to the late Alice Coltrane is a perfectly
recognizable vehicle pairing Lake’s somewhat sharp horn work with
the pianist’s bright, fulsome sound. This is another superb group,
whose meetings with pianists of late may be slightly less known to readers.
They are still able to shift their inflections in the space of a measure,
moving from ragged to poised or from hushed to hollering, all without
sounding unfocused. They follow with a pretty intense, and almost punchy
reading of the Dolphy tune, with Allen and Cyrille riding the wave majestically,
and Lake soaring as if catapulted by the big rubbery punctuations from
Workman. When they’re not exulting in such exultant moments, the
band is similarly resourceful. I marvel at how beautiful and completely
effortless is their use of extended techniques—grit and wood—on
“For Patrik L.” There’s nothing perfunctory about
it, just meaningful sound, with Allen’s percussive inside work
the linchpin. But for the most part, the tunes are about joyful energy.
Check the brief flitting “All Net,” a Lake number that’s
as hot as a point guard in the zone, the big gospel chords on “Current,”
the lively dance of “Barbara’s Rainbow” (with hand
percussion and a jagged high-life theme), or “Tey,” with
dark tonalities and marvelous flute work from Lake. The record goes
from strength to strength, but perhaps best of all is their reading
of Curtis Clark’s “Lake’s Jump,” with echoes
of “Epistrophy” and a crisp Cyrille/Workman swing that’s
outrageously good. Get some.
Cadence, USA, Apr - May - Jun 2010
Searle, Morning Star, Great Britain, May 18, 2010
Geri Allen folgt Irène
Schweizer nach. Die gute alte Tradition des klavierlosen Trios wird
ein anderes Mal weitergesponnen. Allen hat ja viel zu sagen. Sie bringt
den Blues (nicht, dass den die anderen Männer des Trios nicht hätten,
aber eben nicht so explizit) mit, das besondere Gefühl für
drinnen und draußen. Sie ist weniger Architektin als Baumeisterin
und Generalunternehmerin der Band. Gleich beim ersten Titel (einer Eigenkomposition
von Allen) hört man, wie wichtig sie ist, ohne sich eitel in den
Vordergrund zu drängen. ‚Gazzeloni‘, eine Komposition
von Eric Dolphy, klingt, als wäre sie von Monk. Das ist ja kein
Manko. Schön: das harmlos beginnende und dann in wilde Stakkato-Attacken
mündende Saxofonspiel von Oliver Lake. Auch bei der Schlussnummer,
einem wundervollen Gospelstück von Geri Allen, wird diese elegante
Pianistin von den alten Männern des freien Spieles in den Vordergrund
gebeten. ‚Current‘ von Reggie Workman ist von mitreißender
Energie, ‚Lake’s Jump‘ ein vertrackter, verschmitzter
Gassenhauer von fröhlichem Ursprung. Resumée: eine unterhaltsame
CD, die ihre besondere Spannung aus dem Zusammenspiel des altbewährten
Trios mit der jungen (*1957) Lady am Klavier erzielt.
mitter, Freistil, Österreich 2010
Artikel über Reggie Workman, Arne Reimer, Jazzthing, Deutschland, Juni/Juli/August 2011