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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stephen Haynes & Taylor Ho Bynum - The Double Trio (Engine Records, 2008) ****

A double trumpet trio, with Stephen Haynes and Taylor Ho Bynum on trumpet, Allan Jaffe and Mary Halvorson on guitar, Tomas Fujiwara and Warren Smith on drums. This CD is an absolute delight of free interplay and creative composition. Despite the double line-up, the music never sounds crowded, and the musicians are skilled enough to avoid interfering yet they manage to interact soberly or full force, but always with a clear logic and coherence. Ho Bynum, Halvorson and Fujiwara are on the left, Haynes, Jaffe and Smith on the right. Although this is free music, with many avant-garde try-outs, they still keep a very strong rhythmic basis with lots of references to traditional jazz, with a great cover of Ornette Coleman's "Broken Shadows" and some great African rhythms and melody on "Kush". Both trumpeters use the full sound of their instrument, and bring some thrilling interplay, but this is a true band of six musicians, and the trumpeters leave the other band members ample space for guitar and drums fireworks. The music is raw and direct at times, yet often also meditative and soft. The great strength of the approach is the wealth of musical styles they bring, moving the listener almost through the whole array of modern jazz sub-genres, often based on short composed themes, with outbursts of improvisation. The same is true for the technical aspects of the instruments. A track such as "mm (ph)" has jazzy guitar, distorted rock guitar, whispered trumpet and clear-toned almost classical sounds, with the drums changing register along the way. A rich album. Recommended.

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© stef


Stephen Haynes said...

Thanks for the review, and the wonderful commentary on the layered essence of the music that was created that evening at FONT. Two things that we need to clarify: first, the release is not self-published. It is a product of the Engine label and Steven Walcott. Second, Mary's last name is Halvorson.

-Stephen Haynes

Stef said...

Stephen, thanks for the rectification. I'll change it.