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Thursday, June 16, 2022

Dave Gisler Trio with jaimie branch and David Murray - See You Out There (Intakt Records, 2022)

By Kenneth Blanchard

Dave Gisler: Guitar
Raffaele Bossard: Bass
Lionel Friedli: Drums
jaimie branch: Trumpet
David Murray: Tenor Saxophone

This is one of my favorite kinds of albums. It is a prism splitting the jazz spectrum from the middle to one end. From younger X-persons and a seasoned superhero, we get music that would fit comfortably on an acid rock playlist, sandwiched between spooky art house soundtracks and genuine blues ballads. Sometimes we get more than one of those in the same cut. Gisler can be subtle and romantic. He can also play with so much electromagnetic energy it’s a wonder he doesn’t black out whole city blocks.

The trio, consisting of Gisler, Bossard and Friedli, has at least two previous albums: Rabbits On the Run (2018), and Zurich Concert (2020). Both are available from Bandcamp. Trumpet virtuoso jaimie branch (I gather from documentation that branch prefers her name in small letters) joined the trio here and on the 2020 album. I recommend both of the Gisler Trio’s previous recordings. So much for the X-gang.

Then there is the aforementioned superhero. I cannot exaggerate Murray’s influence on me as a jazz fan. More than anyone else, he drew me out of more traditional hard bop toward a whole new world of composition.

Meanwhile, if you don’t know Murray, do yourself a favor, listen to Ming, The Hill, and I Want to Talk About You.

#1 “Bastards On the Run” is very high energy romp with everyone playing amped sound and fury all at once all the way through. #2 “Can you hear me” start with a slower, more romantic duet between Gisler and branch, over a rapid, almost solid ribbon of drum and bass. A subtle friction is provided (I think) by Murray’s horn. Very interesting blend of instruments.

The title cut, #3, is pure haunted house, the kind of thing that might remind you of Albert Ayler, but dialed five notches toward the graveyard. #4 “The Vision” has playing the kind of trumpet that always reminds me of walking alone, down a wet Chicago street, round midnight. Gisler brings up the lights a bit. #6 “Medical Emergency” is, and it does seem to be possible, electrified New Orleans. Murray’s playing is brilliant on this one.

We change gears and altitude with #7 “What Goes Up.” Think of Frankenstein in a hot rod on an alpine highway.

#8 “High as a Kite” is the most dreamy, almost ethereal, cut. I may be exaggerating the spookiness in some of these cuts but here, there is literally something going bump in the night or at least in the right channel.

We get a nice taste of drum and bass in #9 “Get a Döner,” until the trumpet and guitar inevitably overwhelm them. I would have liked a little more of that percussive dialogue.

#10 “Better Don’t Fuck with a Drunken Sailor” gets us back on Bourbon Street. It is such a beautiful piece of romance, allowing Murray to fully extend his command of reed and heart. Gisler and branch in turn reply to Murray’s solo. Oh my. If someone asked me to recommend one cut that represents the album, I would be at a loss. This is whole or nothing. The last cut, however, is the one that followed me home.

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