AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: The Coldwater Trio – Live at the Battery Books & Music [Bandcamp]

More than any other kind of music, collective free improvisation succeeds or fails largely on the strength of the chemistry binding its players together. It isn’t unusual for a free improvisational ensemble to play focused, coherent music its first time out, given a felicitous combination of sensibilities and skills. Live at The Battery Books & Music by the Los Angeles area Coldwater Trio—guitarist Haskel Joseph, trumpeter Bruce Friedman and cellist Michael Intriere—captures the group at its first gig; their imaginative brand of chamber improvisation is played with a sensitivity to color and texture that tells of a compatibility transcending their individual voices, which are built on diverse sound palettes. Joseph works with a wide variety of sounds—wah-wah drenched psychedelia, heavy metal scrounge, a shimmeringly clean tone enhanced by reverb. Intriere plays with a proper, classical sound when he isn’t using extended techniques and percussive effects, or setting up asymmetrical pizzicato lines like a bassist walking steadily through changing time signatures. Friedman most often takes the melodic line, playing an introspective mid-register both with and without mute. Although the seven tracks are fully improvised, collectively the group sets up structures and atmospheres that coalesce and melt away organically, whether in the minor key ruminations of a track like Parenthetical, the ballad-like quasi-soundtrack Point Dume, or the abstractly jittery Pico.

Daniel Barbiero