This is the second release by Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker with her trio with Craig Taborn on piano and Gerald Cleaver on drums. The concept that started on the first album, "Tryptich", comes to fruition on this live date, and takes the concept a notch higher. Gone are the high-toned nervousness, and some of the density of the improvisations, making room for slower, warmer, more deeply felt and opener structures, and it works to perfection. Anker delves deep into the nature of music, stripping it of all its mannerisms, patterns and clear melodic lines, revealing a subtle, sensitive, melodic emotional nakedness, fragile and beautiful, intense and heartfelt. Taborn and Cleaver provide the ideal support and interaction, enjoying the subtleties, reinforcing the emotional depth, adding perspective and color, but leaving the center stage to Anker, whose calm presence defines the music. On "Magic Carpet", the long first track, she moves the music from calm, almost contemplative moments to increasing levels of intensity towards the end, but without raising her voice, or without losing the sensitivity, drawing Taborn and Cleaver into her realm of fast little sounds, who echo her, join her, then take over for two consecutive solos, compact, efficient, but great. The equally long second piece starts again in the faintest of modes, with barely audible sax notes vibrating in the air, floating sensitively, encountering their counterparts from the piano and finger-played drums, dancing around each other rhythmically, but then one without recognizable pattern. And out of this almost-silence erupt some gut-wrenching agonizing wails, slowly, plaintively, and then listen how Taborn takes over, capturing the idea, playing around with the implicit rhythm for a wild yet light piano excursion, and when Lotte Anker joins, she moves the piece back to slowness, stretching her notes, laying a quiet blanket on top of the rhythmical frenzy that Cleaver starts creating, followed in that by Taborn, leading to a strange musical contrast between the rhythm section and the tenor, the one hectic, the other slow. The last piece, "Berber", brings again this strange mixture of abstract and deeply emotional music, demonstrating that in the right hands and ears, musical purity in all its polished rawness, in all its real sensitivity, devoid of fake feelings, averse of false pretention, is not a vague dream, but a real possibility. Free form unleashes true feelings. An absolutely stunning performance.
Listen to an excerpt from "Magic Carpet"
Listen and download from eMusic.
PS: Some weeks ago I thought that the financial crisis had hit the music industry, because the incoming flow of new music was lessening, as was the quality, but now, I have to revise my opinion. Last week saw some wonderful records being released, and this one is certainly among the highlights.