Recorded at Alchemia, Kraków, November 8, 2007 by Marcin Chlebowski. Mix, mastering: Michal Rosicki at MAQ Records. Cover drawing: Joe McPhee. Photos: Krzysztof Penarski. Design: Marek Wajda. Executive producer: Marek Winiarski.
Tracklist CD One: 1. The Magician 2. War Criminals 3. Sex Toys 4. I Remember Max (Drum Solo)
Tracklist CD Two: 1. Return of the Terror 2. Contra-ception (Bass Solo) 3. Political Stripper 4. Turtles Crossing 5. A Night in Alchemia 6. Transaction
As the 1990s drew to a close
McPhee discovered two like-minded improvisers in bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Jay Rosen. The trio premiered at the Vision Jazz Festival, but the concert went unnoticed by the press; McPhee, Duval and Rosen therefore decided that an apt title for the group would be Trio X. A number of Trio X recordings, have since been released on the CIMP and CADENCE JAZZ RECORDS labels, and the band has received favorable critical notice for these, as well as for its live concert and festival appearances. This is the first Trio X album on NotTwo, and it features a special guest – one of the leading European improv music masters — Mikolaj Trzaska.
Like the fine folks up at Cadence/North Country
I am also a Trio X fanatic. So far the Cadence & CIMP labels have released a dozen Trio X discs, which include a DVD and a stellar 10-CD box-set. Each & every disc, as well as the half dozen times I’ve caught them live, have been extra special and often spectacular. Trio X collaborated & toured with Polish reeds wiz, Mikotaj Trzaska in November of 2007 and this where this disc was recorded. This is not a trio+1 date but a new all-star quartet. Although Trio X occasionally throw in a standard or two, for this live double-disc set, the trio performs live, free and completely focused at Alchemia in Krakow, Poland. The title of this disc is ‘Magic’ and it is most appropriate. The music is organic, flows freely and sounds like spirits set in flight. It is also immensely well recorded and all four members get a chance to stretch out and contribute to the direction. Consistently phenomenal as everything we’ve come to expect from these remarkable musicians. — Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
Given the improvisational expertise
of McPhee on alto sax, clarinet and pocket trumpet, of Trzaska on alto sax and bass clarinet, Duval on bass, and Jay Rosen on drums, this recording imparts more than anyone could expect. The musicians inspire and interact with one another in exceptionally intricate and subtle ways. The smallest details of the playing fill volumes of space with intelligent musical conversation, no matter whether one, two, three or all four are involved in the improvisation. The instrumental layering is so clear and unique that listening is an extraordinarily fulfilling challenge. There is bubbling and boiling, but absolutely no mayhem. Duval and Rosen transcend their rhythm-section-ness. Their responsiveness to the horns is stunning. Duval’s infusion of his beautifully shaped arco and pizzicato technique at befitting junctures in the music is particularly noteworthy. His solo, “Contra-ception,” displays how his relaxed fingers feather the bass strings, catch one or two in a twang to spring further into new, softly expressive patterns. Rosen’s essential timing ensures that the actions of any other instruments are not so much ornamented as logically enhanced. Rosen’s drumming is never syrupy; it is dry, clean and rhythmically acute, even when he opens up on cymbals. His solo, “I Remember Max,” ends the first disc. McPhee and Trzaska are a musical marriage made in heaven. Their exchanges extend and complement what each is doing. Their instruments can assume one direction, even though, for example, McPhee might be playing a pocket trumpet and Trzaska, the alto, or McPhee is barely singing through the reed of his sax while Trzaska is restraining his arpeggios. In the opening “The Magician,” their solo lines overlap; their artfulness, distinguishable. In the closing “Transaction,” their phrasing is so interlocked and focused that they sing together as in a choir–in unison or contrapuntally; or one blows high and the other low, their contrasting tonalities, a means to suffuse their sound with unaffected sincerity.– Lyn Horton, All About Jazz
Double CD version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)