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Monday, March 25, 2013

Herb Robertson, David Kaczorowski & Adrian Valosin - Party Enders (Not Two, 2013) ****½

By Stef

Trumpeter Herb Robertson is one of these underrated and underrecorded musicians, and each time a new CD is released, it is a pleasure to hear him play, whether as a sideman or here, as the leader of a trio with Dave Kaczorowski on double bass and Adrian Valosin on drums. Next to trumpet, Robertson also plays cornet, fluegelhorn, english hunting horn, penny-whistles, Romanian reed flute, mutes, electronic mutes, bells, castanets and vocals on the first track.

The music is almost the exact opposite of the free improv of Corbett, Stephens & Marsh reviewed yesterday. There is no in-the-moment nervousness here, but a very calm sense of cool, with long tones, lots of time to develop the music, low density and high intensity. The three musicians give each other as much space as they can, with few notes and sparse accentuated support while keeping the dynamics of the improvisation intact, and Robertson steps back once in a while so that we get extended periods that only bass and drums are playing.

The three tracks are fourty, twenty-two and ten minutes long and were performed live in Baltimore in 2010, and are reminiscent at times of Art Ensemble of Chicago live performances (despite the line-up), with a great musical openness, a soulful foundation and crazy outbursts like Robertson's bluesy singing at the end of the first track. Anything can happen, and that's one of the great aspects of it. Some may say that there just isn't enough taking place at times, but I would recommend then to listen again.

As said earlier, Robertson's output was limited in the last years, but now he's back in force, first on Mark Solborg's The Trees, and on another trio album that will be reviewed soon.

If, like me, you like trumpet trios, and Robertson's playing, don't miss this album.

Available at Instantjazz.

 © stef