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Monday, December 14, 2015

SLD Trio - Anfitrion (s/r, 2015) ****

By Paul Acquaro

The SLD Trio is from Beunos Aires, Argentina. Their group is comprised of Paula Shocron: piano; Germán Lamonega: bass; Pablo Diaz: drums and their debut album Anfitrion (which means 'host' in Spanish) is a pretty stunning debut.

The album builds slowly. For the first two tracks the trio works with the quieter side of their instruments - Shocron's piano playing often relies on the sprinkling of choice notes, while bassist Lamonega lays down strong but short fragments of sound. Drummer Diaz provides splashes of the cymbals and concise rhythmic patterns. However, by track three, things change, and the quiet intensity that had been guiding them suddenly intensifies. Bursts of chords erupt from Shocron's hands, the bass lines grow full and flowing, and then the drums kick in.

There is a lot to recommend here, especially towards the middle - the work inside the piano on tracks 4 ('24 Horas') & 9 ('R.M.') comes to mind, and the two closing  racks are well worth the time it takes to get to them. On 'D.J.' (these initials indicate an homage to various musicians, in this case, saxophonist Darius Jones) there is a long stretch where the piano is played at full volume in vigorously delivering dense blocks of chords that leads to a rhythmic charge. The zenith they reach here, all the intensity and energy, is not lost on the final track 'Firuletes', though it is transformed, and the track, which begins with a delicate melody from the piano, ends on a spacious solo from the bass.

Vacillating between full-bodied and minimalist improvisations, the album's diversity is its strong suit. The quiet moments are solid and reflective and when the tracks do pick up, there is a very open feeling, and it all points to the attention that the three musicians pay to each others rhythmic inventions and melodic approaches. Highly recommended!

Available at the Downtown Music Gallery.