mrc trio

Tribal Dance

Romhog Records, 102

Percussionist Barry Romberg does his fine group a minor disservice by saying in his liner notes, "1, 2, 3... WANK! Hardly. This set is improvised, but the call-and-response, the trampolining one musician will do off the other two, the tremendously absorbing fusionesque interplay, all elevate the proceedings to a level much higher than that which is referred to above.

Often in the give-and-take between Romberg's drum kit, Rufus Cappadocia's 5-string cello bass, and Hugh Marsh's synthesized violin, it's hard to believe that this isn't a pile of sheet music larger than the Sunday New York TIMES. And the jamming, even at its wildest, is aggressively tuneful in an 8-tone sort of way, very little noisemaking for noisemaking's sake, leaving one to wonder just where all this came from! The answer in a moment.

Marsh opens the 22-minute "Reunion" with a swirling Eastern-toned intro that recalls Jon Hassell in his Fourth World experiment days. Romberg falls into the mix next with a liquid touch on the cymbals and when Cappadocia enters it's up up and away like a Superman cartoon. Themes arise, are extended, splatter and are supplanted. The silence plays a certain role as often happens with trios. The twists and turns in which one musician, then another leads all seem far too complex to be made up on the spot. But composing and improvising have one thing in common, as Evan Parker has told us, and that is, both are methods of putting things together. And all these cellobass/drum duets, whirling percussion and slithery violin, much worthy of Brand X in their heyday or Percy Jones' utterly brilliant current ensemble Tunnels, are assembled very close to seamlessly. Very highly recommended by an old fusion music addict. Oh, yes, where did all this music come from? Well, Art Blakey used to say all music originates with The Creator. I won't argue.

by Ken Egbert

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