Mario Rom’s Interzone – Eternal Fiction
(Traumton Records. CD Review by Tony Dudley-Evans)
The Austrian trio led by trumpeter Mario Rom with bassist Lukas Kranzelbinder and drummer Herbert Pirker is unusual in two ways: firstly for its trumpet/bass/drums instrumentation and secondly for the fact that the three musicians have stayed together for ten years. Eternal Fiction is the group’s 10th Anniversary album and it is clear that the trio has a cohesion that comes from their familiarity with each others’ playing.
The pattern throughout the 11 tracks is of a very integrated and interactive trio that loves playing together; each track has a theme which leads into a series of improvisations led by Rom on the trumpet with very strong rhythmic backing from Kranzelbinder and Pirker. Rom has the ability to develop quite long attractive lines on the trumpet; the mood he creates is one of openness and spontaneity that occasionally moves into a more mysterious atmosphere. This is particularly noticeable on You’ll Find Me No More, What You Say and Chant For The Voiceless.
The trio plays very much as a unit with only the occasional interlude with the bass and drums either leading into the theme or taking over for a short duo passage. The pattern with a theme statement leading into melodic development of the theme though the interaction between the three members of the trio is clearly in the same territory as the free jazz of Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. I note from a 2017 interview with Rom and Kranzelbinder on LJN, that they see their music as being a kind of free jazz mixed in with Dixieland; by this I think they mean that they have an approach to free jazz that focuses on a group interaction that is reminiscent in certain respects of early jazz.
There is a very nice balance in the material on the album. It begins with the gentle and melodic approach of Are We Real?, but then moves into two up tempo tracks: No Measure of Health and the title track Eternal Fiction. Then You’ll Find Me No More comes in at a medium tempo. This sense of balance is maintained throughout the album. Mario Rom has said: “We still enjoy the process of playing and spending time together so much, that it feels like it could go on forever.” Let’s hope so.
LINKS: Interview with Mario Rom
The trio’s openness to earlier styles of jazz also comes across in an interview about the new album
with Alison Bentley in which they repeat the mention of Dixieland and describe how the track Matala
with its more static groove-based rhythm is based on a Chicago blues.