De Beren Gieren & Susana Santos Silva – The Detour Fish – Live In Ljubljana (CF 317)
Youthful concepts and treatments are highlighted on this live set, where the award-winning Belgian piano trio De Beren Gieren invites burgeoning Portuguese trumpeter, improviser Susana Santos Silva to join the band for this largely captivating performance at the Ljubljana Jazz Festival in Slovenia. The musicians’ collective synergy becomes apparent rather quickly. Their inventive faculties are propagated via budding, minimalist phrasings and rolling wave-like rhythmic progressions, as the free form improvisational element is a recurring process. And when considering the outside realm, the quartet manages to incorporate a few melodic hooks into the big picture even when they tear down and rebuild themes.
The quartet paints a diverse outlook and does not drift into an abyss with heedless soling jaunts amid these semi-structured works. Hence, “Battle with Fishself” is a prime example of the artists’ insightful collaborative and imaginative standpoint. Here, pianist Fulco Ottervanger’s swirling arpeggios are tempered by drummer Simon Seger’s use of mallets across the toms, as Santos’ scratchy phrasings inject a touch of angst, basically providing a disparate tonal contrast as the quartet systematically, and rather patiently raise the pitch, leading to multiple probing dialogues. They produce a domino effect, tempered by Ottervanger’s quietly churning fadeout as the engine comes to a halt. Overall, the group’s concentrated focus and distinctive group-speak yields bountiful rewards.