Third Reel – Third Reel
(ECM 372 8269. CD Review by Chris Parker)
The two opening tracks of Third Reel neatly represent the yin and yang of the trio’s stylistic approach: guitarist Roberto Pianca’s ‘After All’, an ‘exploration of chordal colours’ (saxophonist/clarinettist Nicolas Masson’s description), is immediately followed by drummer Emanuele Maniscalco’s ‘Furious Seasons’, an appropriately turbulent, almost grungy piece that transforms the band into a (tasteful) power trio.
Between these two extremes lies a lot of musical territory, and Third Reel (conceived from the outset as a bass-less trio – ‘more responsibility for each player, as well as more risk-taking’ is Masson’s explanation for this) explore a great deal of it on this, their debut (eponymous) album.
Although the instrumentation brings the superb trio formed by Paul Motian, Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano to mind (and the odd Third Reel track does feature Lovanoesque smoky, warbling tenor against Frisell-like guitar flickering and swooning), the Swiss/Italian trio is more firmly rooted in free music than its illustrious US predecessor, Masson having encountered both Cecil Taylor and J. R. Mitchell in New York at an impressionable age, and subsequently studied with Frank Lowe and Makanda Ken McIntyre, and four of the album’s 16 shortish tracks are improvisations.
The remainder range between blazingly energetic interactions and the softest and gentlest rubato musings, a telling contrast encapsulated in Pianca’s avowed admiration for both ‘thick post-Hendrix distortion’ and ‘delicate Jim Hall filigree’, and overall Third Reel is as original as it is absorbing, richly rewarding repeated immersion into its highly individual sonic world.