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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Billy Stein Trio - Hybrids (Barking Hoop, 2006) ***½

On his first album guitarist Billy Stein brings us, together with bass-player Reuben Radding and drummer Rashid Bakr, an interesting hybrid form of free improvization and structured form. The three musicians search and turn around each other, creating music which is surprising, inventive, recognizable at times, more often rhythmic than not, never dull. Stein himself plays guitar as if he is the conductor, giving directions to both other players with his soft-toned guitar and ditto presence. And bass-player and drummer take up the challenge. Radding and Bakr are of course well-known in the more avant-garde jazz circles, yet hear they can be heard from their more accessible side, and what they show here is excellent. The music never gets so far as to create real melodies or themes, yet they bring a whirling rhytmic unity of unobtrusive sounds and counter-sounds, inventive and creative.