A Trio – Music to our earsMarch 6, 2012
Back to work today, which went better than expected, an then home this evening with enough time to listen to a couple of CDs again, in the end rejecting one of them for a review because I just couldn’t think of a single positive thing to say, and deciding then to write about the other one, which is one of a couple of new releases on Mazen Kerbaj’s Al Maslakh label from Lebanon. The disc is credited to “A”Trio who are Kerbaj himself (trumpet) alongside Sharif Sehnaoui (acoustic guitar) and Reed Yassin (double bass) and is named Music to our ears.
The other three pieces are all much shorter, with Three Portraits of No Color existing of an unevenly consistent metallic chiming, created (I think) by Sehnaoui striking the strings of the guitar with something metal, strange grinding sounds from Yassin’s bass and some chirruping, splattery trumpet work that sounds far more like the instrument than anything in the first monumental track did. If the piece revolves around Sehnaoui’s almost ritualistic rhythm then the third track follows suit with a more melodic chiming met by a brooding trumpet buzz and some deep, booming bass rubbing, but again the piece has a pulse, albeit often a little awkwardly out of tempo with itself. This track, The Shape of Jazz that Came actually gets a bit angry as it moves on, sounds spat out in places and the bass almost cut in half such is the weight of the booming strikes. The closing Tomorrow, I’ll make breakfast is a lighter affair altogether, with little silence and a lot going on all of the time again, but here the sounds are mostly breathy and/or bowed, hushed whispering and whistling meeting the familiar sound of bowed metal, though with these three instruments involved, which metal exactly was being bowed is beyond me.
There can’t be that many improvising musicians of this type in the Lebanon, so it is inevitable I guess that these three musicians play together often, and certainly the music here feels like it is played by a trio that know each other well and are able to push and pull at each other’s sensibilities easily. Music to our ears (dreadful name for an album by the way!) feels tense and alive, like a a pile of dry leaves with a stray wild animal inside, wrestling to get out and making a mess along the way. Its a fine piece of free improvisation by some skilled and thoughtful musicians that deserve wider attention than they are likely to get in their home country. Available to buy from here.