Free Improv session at Robadors 23 – 29 Jan ’15

Tom Chant (tenor sax)
Iván González (trumpet)
Dani Comas (guitar)
Vasco Trilla (drums)
Àlex Reviriego (bass)

“The more experimental the better, as far as I’m concerned.” – Tom Chant, overheard just 5 minutes before the noise began. No one can say we weren’t warned…

And in the spirit of experimentation, Chant softly begins the evening’s proceedings with what appears to be a large plastic test tube jammed into the bell of his tenor sax. Maybe it softens the tone and lowers the pitch a little, or maybe that’s just wishful listening on my part. Either way, it makes for an interesting visual impression. Meanwhile, Trilla seems to be using knitting needles instead of drumsticks and a small wooden bow to get a cold metallic chiming from the cymbals. It’s a gentle start, each musician adding tiny sonic elements (barely a breath through the sax, the odd harmonic from Comas’ guitar…) slowly building from a mere swell to a wave of sound. Before we know it, we have warning trumpet calls, sinister atonal chords and arpeggios, backwards-sounding sax punctuation, arco bass drones, and behind it all, VT’s drums provide the sound of a world slowly falling to pieces. It’s doomjazz without the need for a heavy metal crossover.

We don’t see a guitar at these Thursday sessions too often, so that makes DC this week’s new ingredient. He brings a very textural approach, adding isolated notes and gently dissonant chords, and the repeated descending runs provide a sense of momentum and structure. But for all the background work, he was equally capable of holding centre stage, with a Derek Bailey-ish series of disjointed, arrhythmic voicings and juddering single-note lines – one of the highlights of the evening’s second improvisation. In fact, between the guitar and the two horns, this piece might have been named Broken Melodies, with its deliberate hesitancy and feeling of entropic decline; only Reviriego’s bass had any solidity, anchoring us as the rest filled the room with fragments.

Once again, artist and musician Miquel Jordà was there with his sketchbook:

Rob23 - 29Jan15 - pic by MJordaThe third and final short piece began with a bumblebee introduction from González’s trumpet before settling into an abstract and compelling frenzy in which each sound was truncated, quickly cut short to make way for the next in a virtual parody of control that resulted in an impression of gorgeous chaos.

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