Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Thollem/Parker/Cline-Gowanus Sessions II; ESP Disk', 2019


It's mind boggling, the amount of man hours spent in music by the collective of William Parker, Nels Cline, and Thollem. Think about it. The former two have been active within Improvised Music since the 1970's. The latter since the 1980's. We're talking easily over 100 years' experience within this trio. 

One may ask, "what does this have to do with Gowanus Sessions II?", and Disaster Amnesiac would simply posit that all of these hours and days spent in pursuit of improvisation gives this 2019 release from ESP Disk' and undeniable amount of depth. Pianist Thollem, bassist Parker, and guitarist Cline are possessed of musical riches that were honestly earned through decades of committed effort, and it shines from the sounds here.

The focused richness emanating from Gowanus's two tracks is the kind that rewards multiple listens, that's for sure. The ways in which this trio play together evince the mastery of both their individual instrumental approaches and of their approaches to group dynamics. When playing as a full trio, Thollem/Parker/Cline get into some deep interactions, ones that are characterized by the kind of fiery energy one expects from releases on ESP Disk'.  Even within these fires, though, there's a kind of depth in the sound. Nowhere in Gowanus is there a feeling of the musicians just blasting away for the sake of blasting away. Wonderful too, the way in which the group then break off into quieter passages; at these points, the listener is given lovely views into the various techniques and ideas that overflow from greats such as these men. As these statements are made, the lead voices are commented upon and embellished by one or two of the other voices, and it's great the way that they add just enough, never too much, before the trio then takes off for the denser sound regions. As these flights commence, one finds oneself entranced again by the thickets of the trio dynamics and their colors. 

As Disaster Amnesiac has listened to Gowanus Sessions II, I've enjoyed wonderful memories of seeing all three of its musicians within the live setting. If you're one of the countless others that have also had the pleasure, and you've not heard it yet, you might want to head over to ESP Disk' and dig into some of Thollem/Parker/Cline's time-space continuum.

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