Saturday, April 14, 2018

New Jazz Trio - 1972 - Page Two

New Jazz Trio
Page Two

01. Currents 4:33
02. Feathered Friends 5:30
03. ...... And Accents 4:09
04. Sunmoonata 5:42
05. Ludus Totalis 5:03
06. Dolbi 3:07
07. Open Zoo 7:00
08. Portraits 4:19
09. Hommage 5:04
10. Absolute 3:00

Recorded at Rhenus Studio, Godorf, February 6, 1972.

Bass, Cello – Peter Trunk
Cornet, Flugelhorn – Manfred Schoof
Drums, Percussion – Cees See
Cello – Otello Liesmann
Viola – Johannes Fritsch, Manfred Niehaus
Violin – Cristel-Renate Wüstenbecker, Koenraad Ellegiers

Here we have Manfred Schoof, a founder of the European Free Jazz scene with a long history of recording with Irene Schweizer or Peter Brotzmann, or Evan Parker or Alexander von Schlippenbach, and, further afield, George Russell, in full flow.  He is accompanied by Peter Trunk and their Dutch partner Cees See.   While they were very much part of the avant garde, free tradition, there is a great deal of jazz history in their playing.  It is not so much that they’re trying to burn the bridges of the tradition (as some of their counterparts might have been attempting back in the early ‘70s) so much as building a new bridge.  Trunk’s bass playing carries a huge debt to the post-bop of the late ‘60s, providing lines that sing more than simply carry the rhythm.  On this recording, you get see why he was so highly regarded (sadly dying in a car accident a couple of years after this set was originally released, at only 37 years of age).  Schoof’s playing (on the both trumpet and flugelhorn) is far less bombastic than other players of the time; even at his most frantic, he works melody and harmony into his playing.  This is, perhaps, not too surprising given the wide range of musical fields in which he worked, being equally at home in opera or classical music as jazz.  Schoof’s melodic lines draw the bass into closer, possibly modal, patterns, such that the ‘free’ aspects tend to be rhythmic rather than aharmonic.  See’s percussion work builds on this, or perhaps creates, the rhythmic gymnastics in the playing, with each piece skittering across time signatures supported by his restless pulsing.  in addition to drumming, See is proficient across a range of instruments, and these are used to provide colour to several pieces here.

On ‘Page Two’, the string quintet lend an air of contemporary chamber music, with the scrabbled pizzicato playing between Trunk’s bubbling bass lines and Schoof’s melodic excursions. This adds an interesting texture to the music, but the heart remains the trio and their ability to work together.  At times a lone violin or viola or cello might venture up a line or two of arco playing, drawing other members of the quintet, but this tend sinks back into the melee of ensemble playing.  What is fascinating is the way that acoustic instruments, in the right hands, can create effects that might be rendered electronically in modern sets; violins playing as if on a tape being rewound, or the bass and trumpet getting louder and then fading as if a directional microphone is being moved across them. 

With the addition of a string quintet, The New Jazz Trio’s ‘second page’ expands on their first MPS album, Page One, by ingeniously melding the heady experimentation of the classical Avant-garde with the exuberant spontaneity of free jazz. For Schoof, the overall musical interaction rather than the individual solos had precedence. He specified that, “on every track all musicians played spontaneously.” Yet soloistic passages weave in and out of a music that ranges from Ornette-like free jazz blanketed by the string section’s “white noise” in Currents, the pointillist Feathered Friends, the frenetic…And Accents, the Mysterioso Sunmoonata, the frenzied Ludus Totalus, a deliriously jazzy Dolbi, the otherworldly Open Zoo, the receptive free-for-all of Portraits, the pulsating insistence of Hommage, on through to the intense drive of Absolute. This was a daring album for its time, one that has maintained its sense of urgent relevancy for nearly a half century. 



  2. Hi Zen Archer,
    maybe you're interested in more music from this ensemble.
    Posted three years ago a broadcast of this line-up at
    Added a new link some minutes ago.