Friday, June 22, 2012

The October Trio: New Dream

The October Trio
New Dream (Songlines Recordings; 2012)
Evan Arntzen (tenor and soprano sax, clarinet)
Josh Cole (double bass)
Dan Gaucher (drums)

For Canadian based, The October Trio, freedom and concept come more from being apart than consistently playing together. The trio reemerged after a hiatus of sorts with their fourth album, New Dream. And it's mature, expansive and more surprising than you would think after a few years apart.

For many this trio may be unknown, but I hope by the end of this post you will venture to try one of their albums. Definitely more free flowing than their previous efforts, New Dream sees the group improvising, adding new textures and having a lot of fun. Opening with the funky, pulsating "1983," the group signal that this outing will be nothing like what you've heard them do before. A very infectious and hypnotic bassline from Cole is augmented by Arntzen and Gaucher's crisp chords that slowly rise to massive crescendo of exchanges towards the song's conclusion. An Impressive mixture for the introduction.

On "New Dream" Arntzen's sax fills the room with a beautiful introspective Coltrane-esque tone. The harmonics wrap around you quickly as Gaucher's rolling drums and Cole's emphatic plucking began to meld into one and explore some solid exchanges back and forth. Both "Potential Bog" and "The Park" show a more relaxed and even quirkier avant garde tendency that is refreshing to hear. A feeling of mid-eighties Arto Lindsay or John Zorn could be felt by this listener. Both Gaucher and Arntzen are scorching on "Potential Bog."

For a trio that hasn't worked together for a few years New Dream feels like they never went away. But The October Trio's return is welcomed and it brings a great deal of growth and experiments that are definitely new building blocks for the future. Richly rewarding stuff and demanding your attention.

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