Free Improv session at Robadors 23 – 5th Mar ’15

Ramon Prats (drums)
Àlex Reviriego (bass)
Tom Chant (tenor and soprano saxes)
Marco Mezquida (piano)
Iván González (trumpet)
Dani Comas (guitar)

No preamble, let’s not mess about, just straight in, okay…?

Piano, bass and drums – it’s a classic trio combination and that’s what we start with, But, of course, this trio is in the free improv context and so our ‘intro’ is a roiling, searching turbulence of sound. And we still have three musicians sitting patiently…

Chant’s horn erupts with a series of backwards notes; i.e. there’s a build-up to a peak and then a sudden stop (the opposite of striking/hitting a note and letting it die away). González – fresh from his role as conductor the previous night – pushes barely enough air through his trumpet to make a sound. Meanwhile, Comas enters the fray with faint electronically-induced 60s sci-fi effects (the electric guitar is a diverse instrument, don’t you think?) Back to the original ‘trio’ and Mezquida is one hand (the right) on the keys and the other buried inside the old joanna manipulating the strings directly. Prats tickles the cymbals before unleashing a fusillade of muted yet rapid percussion; while Reviriego hammers at the bass strings with his bow. It’s a six-way cacophony with conventional notions of music relegated to a seat at the back of the audience.

Incidentally, tonight Comas is playing a telecaster… I think he plays a different axe every time I see him. I’ll try not to be jealous.

There’s a brief period of minimalist heaven – trumpet breaths both sculptural and textural, Chant’s strangulated sounds, a few taps on the bass strings – before a descent into tenor and piano frenzy, clouds of notes flocking, swerving (murmuring?) before Prats’ drums join in, swiftly followed by the others for a full-on, pre-60s, early free jazz, thunderhead of sound.

R23 - 5Mar15The second piece starts with a Prats clatter, paving the way for a series of twanging slurs and bends form Comas (is he using a sample or loop pedal?) underpinned by González’ muted horn. Prats gets increasingly Bennink while Chant adds edgy soprano punctuation.

As a feedback pulse from Comas’ guitar provides a rhythm, the others chime in as follows:

Bass: simple pairs and trios of notes before exploring high up the fingerboard
Trumpet: long drawn-out tones
Sax: soprano morse code
Piano: a concentration on minimalism
Drums: a deceptively metronomic beat that gradually increases everybody’s tempo…

Just another Thursday night at Robadors 23.

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