Circle the Path - review by Dân Warburton
Dân Warburton for Paris Transatlantic Magazine, published May 2007
ZMF stands for Zubot (Jesse, violin) Martin (Jean, drums) and Fonda (Joe, bass), a trio that first got together a few years back through the good offices of the Vancouver Jazz Festival's Ken Pickering. This cracking debut was recorded just days after the three musicians began playing together, and it's a real fun-filled adventure, from the atmospheric glistening harmonics of the opening "Long, Dark & Slow", via the tight cellular workout of "Circle" and the slinky 12/8 swing of "Slow Blues" to the angular intricacy of "#135", the only piece not penned by a member of the trio. Not surprisingly, with a title like that, it's by Anthony Braxton, and Fonda brings his authentic Brax street cred to bear on proceedings to great effect. He also kicks off the following track's rollercoaster ride with a monster bass solo. More thrills and spills are in store before the album comes full circle with a slight return of "Long, Dark & Slow." Violin / bass / drums trios aren't all that frequent, and (believe me) it takes considerable arm power for a humble fiddler to go the distance with a hard driving rhythm section. Zubot does that and more, and without recourse to stacks of electronic gadgets; it's all too easy to slap a few FX pedals and a contact mic on the violin and can get much more noise for far less effort. He manages to incorporate good solid conservatory technique without ever sounding like a "classical fiddler trying to play jazz" (mentioning no names), and is just as good at flying off the handle into the kind of wild scratches and squeaks Malcolm Goldstein would be proud of. Meanwhile, Jean Martin handles percussion duty with great flair, both swinging hard and playing colour when needs be. All in all, this is a terrific debut. Let's have some more.
Reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2007 Paris Transatlantic and Dân Warburton.
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- Joe Fonda, Bass
- Mike Kindred, Piano
- Emil Gross, Drums