Bucher Sommer Friedli, a young Swiss trio consisting of guitar (Michael Bucher), bass (Patrick Sommer), and drums (Tobias Friedli), claim in their press information that they "have it going on." The proof positive is in their latest CD, thermi.
The trio’s concept is based in their compositions, not in any one "style" of jazz. This allows enough freedom for each of the players to show off considerable chops and taste.
The first dose comes in the first cut, "Seven" which, as you may guess, floats in 7/4. What’s different is the smoothness with which the trio assays the snaky rhythmic theme. Bucher has his Scofield thing happening, Sommer seems to come out of Steve Swallow, and Friedli can lay claim to any one of a number of influences. "Moment I" is a short snapshot of a Bill Frisell-like theme that should have been explored.
"Thermi" is a melancholy 12/8 rumination that crawls in and out of tempo at will. This very pretty piece will have you reaching for your repeat button as Bucher reminds you of mid-70s John McLaughlin over some great bass and drums.
"Bill" must be a tribute to the afore-mentioned Frisell. This up-tempo piece in 5 could come from any one of his albums.
"Moment II" send us into "Nordstrand," a line in 3 (BSF seem to revel in odd meters) that explores the sonic possibilities of Bucher’s guitar before he flies into a fiery solo that delights with its inventiveness. "Song for B" is a too-short, gorgeous ballad with lovely harmonies. "Triptrip" lopes with an almost country and western feel, once again recalling Frisell.
Next is "Six," and guess what meter it’s in? That’s right, and it’s a wonderfully waltzing dance. "Moment III" recalls McLaughlin/Cobham duets from the days of Mahavishnu.
One listen to "Some Blues" will have you shouting "Metheny!" And you’d be right. This Pat theme continues into the next tune, "April," another sweet ballad, and follows up with "Cruisin’," a rocker straight off Metheny’s American Garage.
Pretty percussion effects help define "Unschuld" as a slow waltz with wonderful potential, but just as quickly, "Moment IV" arrives to take us out with an electronic question mark, a long pause, and a calming period to end the sentence.
Great compositions, beautifully played, thermi by Bucher Sommer Friedli is a must-buy. Absolutely.