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Love Henry by Clusone Trio

The members of Clusone have a solemn pact, or so it seems. No tune shall have a predetermined start or end. This does not preclude them from playing standards like Irving Berlin's When I Lost You or Lee Konitz's It's You, however. It just means that neither the listener nor the performers ever know when something new is going to erupt and overturn the apple cart--or conversely when suddenly order will form out of seeming chaos. Unpredictability is the Clusone Trio's strong suit, and for lovers of postmodern music it is something to behold. They are never above stating variation before theme, and it takes a close ear to catch what's going on. Their two Gramavision recordings are both documents of live performances, which can only hint at the mood during the process of creation but nevertheless are gold mines of musical freedom. Clusone is veteran Han Bennink on percussion, Michael Moore on saxophone, and Ernst Reijseger on cello. True to the free jazz tradition, each player is independently capable of covering the ground of melody, harmony, and rhythm. When the roles of their primary instruments get too tight, Bennink and Moorebreak out backup toys. Bennink has no fear of using his voice to make cuckoo noises or a piano stationed in the background to punch out Tayloresque clusters Moore keeps an accordion on hand for the sound of the good old times (remember, this is a primarily European group).Reijseger, to me, is the glue of the group: while he can provide a bassline, he also contributes chordal harmony and wonderful melodies. Michael Moore's Uninhabited Island(track 8) provides a wonderful example of a smooth transition from the former to the latter: a hummable melody first stated by Moore on sax evolves into Reijseger's synonymous lower register cello bass counterpoint, which then only a minute later erupts into a virtuostic funk/blues cello lead over Moore's harmonic accompaniment on accordion. About a minute into track 12,Love Henry, Reijseger suddenly adopts an octave-rich folk accompaniment which seems tailor made for this traditional tune. The 18 tracks on Love Henry have been thoughtfully grouped on the CD box into four medleys and three stand-alone tracks: while any track can be played singly, almost all of them have significantly more meaning in the context where they were born. For example, a tune like White Christmas coming two minutes after a wild Bennink drum solo obviously provides more serenity than it would on its own, and lends the vocal finale by Bennink more significance. The overall message harkens back to something that Miles Davis said he learned from Stockhausen: no piece of music truly has a start or an end-all is continuum. It will be interesting to see what the Clusone Trio does next.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Clusone Trio
  • CD Title: Love Henry
  • Genre: Other
  • Year Released: 1997
  • Record Label: Unknown
  • Rating: Four Stars
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