Label: Clean Feed, 2019
Personnel - Matt Mitchell: piano; Mario Pavone: double bass; Tyshawn Sorrey : drums.
At the age of 79, American avant-garde bassist Mario Pavone is not interested in slowing down and both productivity and innovation are kept as two determinant factors in his career. For this year’s Clean Feed release, Philosophy, he reunites with the two freedom seekers and revered bandleaders that compose his Dialect Trio, namely, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. All three form a democratic alliance whose tensile creativity is immediately mirrored on the lead-off track, “8-18-18”, a brand new Pavone composition that hangs loose, coiling Mitchell’s acerbic clusters and zigzagging motions, Sorey’s swift and precise brushwork, and bass rambles shrouded in ambiguity but never indecision.
The trio settles upon swing and groove all the way through on the title track, with Sorey and Pavone underpinning with gusto the motivic bop spins of the pianist, and “Two Thirds Radial”, a Monk-ish crotchet permeated with gorgeous riffs and slippery angularity. The latter tune was previously recorded, appearing in Pavone’s album Vertical (Clean Feed, 2017), just like “Iskmix”, a motivic statement with tricky additive meter, whose first release wings back to 2008, to the masterpiece record Ancestors (Playscape Recordings). Naturally, they both resurface here with new looks and textures.
“Everything There Is” is a spontaneous improvisation credited to the trio, which skews into a controlled centrifugation. Yet, I found them at their most investigative on two renditions of Annette Peacock’s tunes, “Circles” and “The Beginning”. The former, a ballad multiple times tackled by Paul Bley in the past, unscrambles any complexity and features the solitary bass in a minimalist sequence, while the latter invites us to get lost in the noisy atonalities of its short course. It feels like jumping into a big vortex full of small whirls inside.
Pavone’s “Noka” introduces a bit more roundness in its lines, setting the pace out of the work in tandem from bass and piano, which is complemented with Sorey’s speaking drums. However, Mitchell, as an inveterate off-center explorer, grittily seeks alternative routes.
Philosophy follows a smartly designed architecture that besides other benefits, ensures that no tune is overextended. It reinforces with new music what this trailblazing piano trio can offer.
02 - Philosophy ► 04 - The Beginning ► 07 - Iskmix