In presence of musicians endowed with sensational curricula, the least one can foresee in a trio album involving them is the redefinition and/or expansion of concepts related to the profoundness of the interplay. Inflating press blurbs and writeups with hyperbolic sentences hinting at some sort of supernatural connection between players is quite simple; the task of assessing the actual value of the resulting music – beyond the philosophical systems of trademark “criticism” – is more arduous.
Throughout Vessel In Orbit the restraint through which Whit Dickey (drums), Mat Maneri (viola) and Matt Shipp (piano) maintain a strong grip on the ego’s lust for overstating things is crucial. Here, if anything, the impulse of speaking plenty when it’s not necessary – a veritable plague in jazz from any epoch – morphs into continued parallelisms of definite illustrations. Each artist points to a sharp picture, inviting the others to explicate that particular view according to their individual fluctuations. At times the acoustic impression becomes somewhat clustered, uncomfortable excursuses challenging the listener on a mental rather than emotional level.
Then you start breaking the integrity down to smaller chunks, praising the single components for the evident intention of generating sonic legitimacy beyond the implications of the self. In that sense, all performers affirm their unique marks with authoritative ability and not a little realism. The fundamental interaction occurs at varying depths: we observe interactive duos within the trio’s specific kinetics, and repeated shifting of position as the improvised visions unfold. It’s during these passages that we notice the brighter sparks of instrumental class. Dickey’s precise percussive physiognomies, dynamic management of open spaces, untold intentions and unexpected combinations of kernels of tempos. Maneri’s remarkable control of any variety of melodic motivation – lyrical or less. Shipp’s chordal conflicts conveying a rational radiance capable of clarifying the hardest complexities.
At that moment, it’s up to you. Plunge right into the dissonant current to absorb its inherent vibe, or detachedly look at intertwining lines and textural particles without remaining trapped by ineffective figures of speech?