Domenic Landolf: New Brighton (2010)
The trio ensemble of reed instrument with a spare backing of just drums and bass was pioneered by Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. Ornette on alto sax, of course, with the occasional trumpet or violin, and Coltrane on tenor and soprano, Rollins on his always brawny tenor saxophone. It was groundbreaking stuff in the sixties. Without a chording instrument, melody moves into the forefront.
On New Brighton, Swiss multiple reedist Domenic Landolf plays tenor saxophone, bass clarinet and alto flute in an organic interplay with his trio mates, bassist Patrice Moret and drummer Dejan Terzic.
A fluid trio chemistry reveals itself with the opener, "Lehar." The leader blows haunting, unhurried lines on his round-toned tenor sax, bass and drums creating a low, ominous grumble, with Terzic adding a subtle tintinnabulation of glockenspiel. "Storm Chaser" is, as its title suggests, more turbulent, a brief, rumbling, improvisational interlude leading into "Les Bouts Du Monde, featuring the leader's smooth-as-honey bass clarinet weaving inside a subdued rhythmic clamor.
The set has a chamber jazz feeling in large part, catching fire on "Calling the Spirits," with Landolf's flute floating through the searching edginess of the bass/drums paring giving the mood a tincture of eeriness. "Cho Oyu," penned by bassist Moret, has Landolf back on tenor, sounding muscular and Sonny Rollins-esque, blowing an urgent smolder inside a transparent landscape, accompanied by drummer Terzic's metallic exclamations.
The just-under-a-minute free, three-way improvisation, "Enchanted Beans" introduces a brief moment of anguish on the screech of the leader's tenor, rolling into the spare and ruminative "Fjord," with Landolf back on bass clarinet, and Moret, who wrote the tune, sounding distinctly percussive.
The set as a whole has a suite-like quality of interconnectedness, the subdued beauty of the Landolf and Moret-penned tunes interspersed with the more urgent and shorter trio-penned improvisations. The group goes with a standard to close the set, the Great American Songbook classic, "My Old Flame." The pace is measured and introspective, and reverential, leaving the ring of a familiar melody lingering at the end of a fine set of sounds.
Track Listing: Lehar; Storm Chaser; Les Bouts Du Monde; W.E.; Calling the Spirits; Cho Oyu; Enchanted Beans; Fjord; Kululeka; Malstrom; New Brighton; The Beatles Go East; My Old Flame.
Personnel: Domenic Landolf: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, alto flute; Patrice Moret: bass; Dejan Terzic: drums, glockenspiel.