Omawi

Inscapes
De Plattenbakkerj PB 009

Ada Rave Trio

The Sea, the Storm and the Full Moon

Clean Feed CF 450 CD

Arguably the most accomplished – and certainly most versatile – bassist to arise from the gestalt of Amsterdam’s creative music scene, Wilbert de Joode, 62, has made his reputation over nearly four decades playing with figures such as Eric Boeren and Han Bennink. However his refusal to stand pat musically has also led to numberless affiliations, including these trios filled out by players years younger than him. Intriguingly most aren’t Dutch. Although drummer Onno Govaert, known for his work in Cactus Truck among others is Dutch, the pivotal member of Omawi is Polish pianist Marta Warelis; while the other CD matches the bassist with Köln-based prepared guitarist Nicola L. Hein, who has worked with everyone from Miya Masaoka to Matthias Muche, and the titular leader, Argentinean multi-reedist Ada Rave, who has worked with the likes of Kaja Draksler as well as Warelis and Govaert. Eerily, both sessions were recorded in the same month and are exactly 40 minutes long.

Melding cues from post-Cecil Taylor piano concepts plus conservatory-honed technical finesse, Warelis’ blend of pumps, squeezes and plucks is the epitome of the post-modern Jazz tradition mixing silences with sounds and using string vibrations as often as keyboard pressure. Kinetically fanning ringing tones from keyboard, her focused plucks and strums on the internal strings is also assured enough to mirror or contradict corresponding buzzes or sawing from the bassist; at points individual attribution is impossible. As for Govaert, rolls, cranks and pops from his kit deftly bond with and accompany the others. “Tatata di di, didium” serves as an example of this strategy, coming across like Hard Bop without overstated accents. Instead the pianist’s repetative and continuous patterning crystallizes as it advances; eventually attaining buoyancy as the bassist walks and the drums resonates. Adding humor to hardness, Warelis wriggles and key clips the melody to an intermittent finale. More tunefulness lurks just below the surface of “Stone” where it rises rather than sinks with melodic twerks and quirky glissandi. Before Govaert’s drum stick cracks signal the finale, de Joode’s pumps solidify the program with the thickness of suspension bridge beam support. Polyphonic vibrations are audible from each trio member throughout, with a tune such as “Star” elongating the program. Subtle bell ringing and shakes from the drummer plus surging plucks and stops from the bassist serve as punctuation to the pianist’s bottleneck-guitar-like string plucks, with the theme finally isolated by Warelis with a sequence of colorful, topsy-turvy dynamic emphasis.

As the Rave Trio lacks a percussionist, de Joode takes over the rhythmic role himself. While in terms of what Rave plays– tenor saxophone, clarinet and flute – and the band’s instrumental make up, the trio appears to approximates the 1950s Jimmy Giuffre3, although there are also numerous points of dissension. Rave’s playing is much more protuberant and animated than Giuffre’s of the time; de Joode’s bass bottom shatters the efforts of any of Giuffre’s associates at that time was; and Hein’s expertise in sound design, tone tweaking and wave form scatters have nothing in common with the formal romanticism of Jim Hall.

From the growling, snarling tenor saxophone outpourings on “Inner Chaos” and “Primitive Dance” at the CD’s beginning join with timbres amplified with angled distortion, to the freak notes and miasmatic interface on the coinciding title track, all three operate with a freedom that acknowledges the unpretty advances of the so-called New Thing, but with enough discipline to ensure that musical probity is observed. While Hein’s motifs may include fuzzy distortion and shrill asides via string fragmented as on “The Sea, the Storm and the Full Moon”, the exposition is staccato without being strident. Furthermore for every squeezed altissimo reed tone, fluid comping from both string players literally levels the playing field. Crucially, de Joode’s calm percussiveness is upfront on “Breathing the Oceans Air” and “Comes from a Dream”, where string thumps and wood-rending-like stretches introduce enough torque to mix with Hein’s electronic buzzes do on the former. Meanwhile finger-picking string rubbing on the latter are clearly positioned within a chromatic framework harsh tenor saxophone blowing. Deepened resonations from either saxophone or clarinet on “Breathing the Oceans Air” then creates a 21st century variation on Giuffre-style relaxation.

Far apart in conception, but close together in execution, the participation of de Joode helps make each session stand out as an instance of noticeable up-to-date Jazz-improv.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Inscapes: 1, Stiir 2. Star 3. Tatata di di, didium 4. Stem 5. Stone

Personnel: Inscapes: Marta Warelis (piano); Wilbert de Joode (bass) and Onno Govaert (drums)

Track Listing: Sea: 1. Inner Chaos 2. Primitive Dance 3. Breathing the Oceans Air 4.The Journey of the Little Being 5.An Instant All the Moments 6. Comes from a Dream 7. The Sea, the Storm and the Fullmoon

Personnel: Sea: Ada Rave (tenor saxophone, clarinet and flutes): Nicola L. Hein (prepared guitar) and Wilbert De Joode (bass)