AMN Capsule Reviews: García / Bruno / Díaz – JIKJI (2021; NendoDango Records); William Parker – Mayan Space Station (2021; AUM Fidelity)

This is a studio free-improv recording made last year in Buenos Aires. Cellist Violeta García, trombonist Daniel Bruno, and drummer Pablo Díaz explore textural complexities across ten tracks. JIKJI begins in an active and dense fashion, with warbling trombone and grating cello accompanying Díaz’s somewhat irrhythmic percussion style. Extended techniques are heavily used, with García scraping her instrument and Bruno using mouth noises. These efforts create a rattling undercurrent atop which distinct themes emerge from time to time before returning to a primordial soup of structural components. As the album progresses, the music becomes even more open and outside, as a busy spaciousness replaces the initial denser moments.

In contrast, the trio of bassist William Parker, guitarist Ava Mendoza, and drummer Gerald Cleaver, who are all well-versed in open-ended improvisation, focus on laying down grooves on Mayan Space Station. Particularly, Parker and Cleaver play it mostly inside, though in a compelling and creative fashion, to support Mendoza’s soloing. The latter features plentiful speed picking, gritty chords, and uptempo expressiveness. Indeed, this recording has subtle blues and rock stylings as much as jazz. An unexpected take on the power trio from three veterans.

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