TrioVD, Maze (Naim Edge)

15 May

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It is easy to see how this recording might puzzle or even create some dismay among jazz fans. This is not jazz, many will exclaim. It is quite certain that the members of this trio which hails from Leeds, England, do not really care what label is going to be stamped over their music. Running the risk of over-simplification, trioVD can be reminiscent of John Zorn’s Naked City at their most abrasive and violent. Indeed, Maze owes as much to jazz and improvised music as to speed metal and industrial rock.

However, after paying closer attention to the work of saxophonist Christophe de Bezenac, guitarist Chris Sharkey, and drummer Chris Bussey, the initial impression of mayhem tends to dissipate to reveal a band that is far from being one-dimensional. They can diversify their approach and go past the in-your-face formula to assemble a careful collage of sounds. Moreover, the electronics add to the atmosphere, providing a dense and textural backdrop.

The music of trioVD can be oppressive and full of imminent danger.  Pounded drum toms and harsh metallic cymbals often set the tone. Trouncing guitar and saxophone riffs are dealt without mercy. A frantic saxophone cuts through the magma in fusion like a buzzing saw. Morse-like phrases and a seemingly dyslexic discourse abound. This is sometimes offset by silly humor and unexpected turns as quiet passages are frequently the sign of a storm waiting to be unleashed.

If this was not already obvious, to best approach trioVD, it is recommended to leave expectations and preconceived definitions at home and let oneself be carried away by the irresistible adrenaline rush and the maelstrom of emotions.

– Alain Drouot

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