AMN Reviews: Trio Caveat: Introspective Athletics split w Josh Sinton: Pine Barron

Trio Caveat: Introspective Athletics split w Josh Sinton: Pine Barron (Engine 044)

This release is a well-balanced split of nine tracks by Trio Caveat followed by ten tracks from multireed player Josh Sinton.

Trio Caveat is a free improv ensemble composed of James Ilgenfritz on double bass, Chris Welcome on guitar, and Jonathan Moritz on tenor and soprano saxophones. The group create cerebral chamber improvisations integrating pitch and textures into a web of sound woven over the course of shorter, atmospheric pieces rather than one or two extended pieces. Each piece seems to be weighted toward the elaboration of a given quality of sound, as reflected in the wryly literal titles. Even so, the music’s root in more conventional forms of improvisation is never too far below the surface. The title track, for example, with its languid soprano saxophone and pizzicato bass, is an expansive take on the jazz ballad. Extended techniques are more to the fore in tracks like Fluttering Clicks, Fractured Hisses, while Granulated Nuance and Fluttering Beeps, Mumbling provide excursions into a more reductive sound. Dramatic Flare, featuring pizzicato bass and single note guitar lines in an open counterpoint, even hints at swing.

More overtly jazz-oriented is the split’s second half, Josh Sinton’s Pine Barren. The Brooklyn-based Sinton is best known as a baritone saxophonist, but here is featured on bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet as well as on the baritone. Like Trio Caveat’s collective improvisations, Sinton’s solo pieces are concise and varied, reflecting the diversity of influences he brings to his music. Although there are some harsh passages, particularly on the saxophone pieces, the overall mood is reflective, bordering at times on the nostalgic. Sinton is a lyrical player, often constructing his lines around brief motifs or phrases that accumulate into longer lines of increased melodic complexity. His bass clarinet is especially warm-toned, with a resonant lower register. Interestingly, the austerity of these explorations for solo horn is broken by the last track, a pulse piece for overdubbed reed section.

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