Clarinetist Bill Payne is a bold but sensitive improviser from the pianist Lennie Tristano’s school of musical thought. Violinist Eva Lindal has a solid footing in the Avant-Garde western classical tradition. Carol Liebowitz is an urbane and dramatic pianist who creates unique blends of jazz and free improvisation. All three have long associations with pianist Connie Crothers, herself a Tristano disciple.
On their eponymous release Payne/Lindal/Liebowitz they let loose a host of provocative and intriguing ideas with transforming moods and shifting harmonic colors. Although there are eleven distinct tracks on the album the concepts seamlessly flow from one to the other giving the record its unique cohesive structure.
The cinematic “It Happened This Way” for example is a pensive three-way stream of consciousness conversation that is delightfully abstract with crisp phraseology. Its pensive mood spills over to the haunting “Unspoken.” The extemporizations become sparser and weave in silent pauses. Payne’s darkly hued woodwind contributes a mystical touch while Liebowitz and her resonant cascade of keys and Lindal’s manipulated strings add an angular edge.
The entire music is spontaneously created during the session exhibiting a remarkable camaraderie among the members of the trio. Their stimulating exchanges range from the delightfully dissonant as on “B/E” to the lilting and, surprisingly, lyrical as on “Glissade.” On the former the passionate ad lib duet between Payne and Lindal climaxes into a unified and fiery melody filled with lithe acrobatics. On the latter Liebowitz and Payne exchange poetic phrases with a strong western classical influence. Liebowitz peppers Payne’s heady, mordant lines with atonal clusters of notes adding to the thrillingly tense ambience.
The first half of the intriguing “Preludes” showcases the individual musicians alone in the spotlight. Lindal opens with a wailing, eerie but emotive solo. Payne follows with an intricate and evocative monologue and Liebowitz enters with a series of percussive chords that brim with ardent energy and hypnotic beauty. The soliloquies merge forming a sublime crystalline sonic structure of shimmering hues.
Similarly the intense and gripping “What We Are Saying” is built like a mosaic from melodic fragments that each one of the performers contributes. Wordless vocals articulating a range of emotions accompany Lindal’s mesmerizing con arco drone. Payne, meanwhile, coaxes eloquent and wistful poetry out of his clarinet. Liebowitz’s vibrant and sonorous pianism enhances the expectant and vivid atmosphere. A melancholic collective performance brings the piece to a solemn conclusion.
This provocative and challenging album defies narrow genreism and may not appeal to the casual listener. Those with open minds and receptive ears, however, will find much to savor in the high caliber musicianship and intelligent, electrifying artistry that define the disc.
—Hrayr Attarian, All About Jazz
“This trio is quite an original group…. poised in the realm of a highly communicative chamber music, in which pure improvisation reigns supreme…. It is an intense album that will not go unnoticed.”
—Vittorio Lo Conte, musiczoom.it
Full Review (translated from original Italian)
“Simply put, they sound like no one else…. a soundscape in which each dynamic and rhythmic contrast is of the utmost importance…. The recording is superb…. captures the perfect environment for this supremely sensitive trio, from whom I hope we hear a lot more.”
—Marc Medwin, Cadence Magazine
“… it is immediately obvious that the three are totally compatible as improvisers, already sounding as if they have years of improvising experience together…. the key to this trio’s compatibility is the presence of three distinct, separate voices that each have their own story to tell but not at the expense of the others.”
—John Eyles, All About Jazz
“It is a very imaginative trio music we hear…. All are very accomplished artists and the expression ‘the whole is more than the sum of its parts’ certainly applies…. Highly recommended…. There is much to appreciate!”
—Grego Applegate Edwards, gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com
“Clearly creative improvisation is the watchword of Line Art Records.”
—Leonid Auskern, jazzquad.ru
Full Review (translated from original Russian)
CROSSING THE MOJAVE AND INTO THE HIGHLANDS OF ARIZONA
With Bill, Eva, & Carol on the Stereo
Sometimes the smallest thing
circles widest encompasses multitudes
our hands are tied until
we reach the border, swirling
reverse vortex, once we get out of California
we can open it up—
So much the enormity
embryonic & liquid—
under laws generated by the sun
old dilapidated motels
the sun tracks from Stockholm to New York City to Vegas
or rather, the Earth turns into it
speed limits, highback seats, & accelerando
pretend this is the first trio
it could be 30,000 years ago
between 2nd and 3rd Ice Ages
after the turbulence had settled down
you could go barefoot in summer
your best friend is a broom maker
there’s wild horses over the next valley
and the next over are the meteors
How many times have you been somewhere
and said to yourself: I have to
come back here someday and look around?
—Mark Weber, August 2013