So I am crazy, and enthusiastic. After having bought the "Trio X - 2006 US Tour", a 7-CD box, the mailman yesterday brought me the double LP "Live In Vilnius", also recorded in 2006, and issued in 500 numbered copies only (I got number 15, so I guess there must be some more copies available). Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, one of the Baltic states in Europe, and one of the first releases by this brand-new jazz label, that also released two Mats Gustafsson albums so far, and that's it. Quality over quantity, an excellent choice I would say, but I guess they must be a little crazy too, and probably even more enthusiastic.
I had to get the dust of my turntable, try to get the weights and the speed right again, and lo-and-behold, great music emerged from my speakers. The album does have some of the same pieces as on many of their other live albums, including "Going Home", "My Funny Valentine", "Blue Monk", "Evidence", and it would have been a great addition to the box set in that respect. There are differences though. The sound quality is superb, the audience larger and more enthusiastic, which may have given the musicians an extra motivation, and ... there is a ten minute version of "Lonely Woman", that could already be heard on the DVD of this performance, albeit reduced to some ten seconds. And when I hear this performance, it makes up for the cost of the album and the shipment. It starts with McPhee on sax and Duval plucking his bass, heart-rending, bluesy, intense, intimate, deep, then with McPhee on pocket trumpet, Duval using his bow, gut-wrenching, soulful, wild, passionate, sad, then with McPhee back on tenor, crying, wailing, ... it is majestic, awsome, bitter, unreal.
There is no band as spiritual, as respectful of tradition, as free, as avant-garde, as soulful and emotionally expressive as Trio X, with a perfect command of the instruments, of pace, timing, pitch, emphasis. Their strongest paradoX however is that, over the years, the band reduced and reduced its music to its barest essence, inviting silence in, creating an organic and natural simplicity, but with a depth and wealth that is beyond comparison. Great!
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