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Live In Amsterdamn by FAB Trio

The preponderance of modern jazz and jazz-improvisation aficionados should be well aware of what these respective stylists bring to the proverbial table as their resumes disclose alignments with a who’s who of cutting-edge artistes. The trio’s fourth effort serves as a continuation of roads previously traversed. No doubt, they’re an exciting unit. Again, they stand rather tall among their peers via their inventive interplay and semi-structured vehicles, loaded with compelling improvisational metrics and much more.

The trio instills power and subtly with gradually ascending mini-motifs and interweaving dialogues. With violinist Billy Bang’s soaring staccato lines, the musicians often expand and contract various thematic fronts amid varying degrees of intensity and climactic passages. For example, drummer Barry Altschul drops a few bombs during the fervent group exchanges heard on "Fabmusic Opening," while bassist Joe Fonda executes at a furious pace. But they eventually temper the heated flows down to a whisper, akin to a battery-operated clock slowly losing its power.

Highs, lows and alternating pitches are the basis for many of the artists’ dynamics. On "Go East - Da Bang," the violinist takes an unaccompanied solo spot followed by Altschul who solos and rockets the group into free-bop terrain. Then on the final piece "Fabmusic Continuation - Spirits Entering," they lean more towards the avant schema, nicely dappled by the drummers use of woodblocks, press rolls and cowbell hits. In addition, Bang’s compact phrasings help steer his band-mates into off-kilter March-like choruses, shuffle-swing grooves, and a quaintly melodic ostinato movement. Hence, the fine art of improvisation looms rather large throughout this cunning and impressionable exposition.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: FAB Trio
  • CD Title: Live In Amsterdamn
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Porter Records
  • Tracks: Fabmusic Opening, Go East – Da Bang, Fabmusic, Continuation – Spirits Entering
  • Musicians: Joe Fonda (bass), Barry Altschul (drums), Billy Bang (violin)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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