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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Joe Sachse Trio - One Take (Jazzwerkstatt, 2010) ****

By Paul Acquaro

As far as I can tell, Joe Sachse's 'One Take' is not about technical chops, nor is it really about the compositions, however in the course of its 78 minutes, neither are lacking. Due to a paucity of liner notes (I'm working from mp3), I am making some assumptions about this loose and enjoyable recording, namely that its title is indicative of the albums real focus: savoring the thrill of creation.

'One Take' is also an album that celebrates "the guitar." The note choice, the tonality, and the harmonic constructs are all built around the physical and sonic embodiments of the electric guitar. An obvious example of this is the Hendrix-like "Blues for Kati". Like 'Little Wing', the shimmering tone, the bluesy feel and the laid back groove just feel so right, I just couldn't hear it with different instrumentation.

And what can you say about Sachse's companions, John Marshall (drums) and Fred Baker (bass), besides that they are the creme de la creme? Marshall, as usual, is as solid, supportive and creative as one could wish for. His solo during 'Fur Oki' is reminiscent of some later day Soft Machine. With a bright full bodied tone, Baker provides crystal clear melodic solos and precise counter-melodies to Sachse's lead. At some points, it seems like Sachse is happy to let Baker take over. On the Monk staple 'Round Midnight', the bassist provides an excellent unaccompanied intro of the mournful melody that, when the others join, evolves into a swinging affair.

My only complaint is that the album at times can feel a little 'jammy', there are no overly long songs but there is sometimes a little too much cohesion between some of the tracks. But this is more than counterbalanced by sublime moments like Baker's solo in the reflective 'Alterswing' and Sachse's spirited phrygian romp in 'Fur Oki'. Another highlight for me is the closer 'Swinool', where Sachse with the help of Baker's fuzz bass, just catches fire.

Overall, this is an accessible set of songs that gives a trio of seasoned musicians a chance to stretch out and enjoy creating together. A fun album and highly recommended to guitar trio and jazz-rock fanatics.

Available through eMusic.