Circle the Path - review by Jay Jay Erickson & McCalla
Jay Jay Erickson & McCalla for panpot.ca
According to the collaborating team of Jay Jay Erickson and 'McCalla', this captivating experimental jazz trio is the cat's meow. 'Circle the Path' was recorded at Vancouver's Factory Studios in 2005 and features a unique pairing worth discovering.
JJE: It's been some time since I've been overly excited about a new improvised jazz outfit. Ayler Records out of Sweden knocked my socks down with a few of their awesome downloadable live recordings...
McCalla: You're so lying Jay! You freaked over that 1982 Brötzmann Pica reissue, and I can probably list off a dozen others you never shut up about.
JJE: Don't say Eddie Gayle's Black Rhythm Happening, because I'm talking about new material. Anyway, you didn't let me finish- I meant I haven't heard anything that gave me goose bumps much in the way this new effort by the ZMF Trio has. This is the sort of thing you look for- a skillful, mostly improvised crew that's not mastering in the 'screechola'. This trio consists of Jesse Zubot, an extremely talented Vancouver-based violinist (a past Juno Award winner and an artist from an apparently very rich musical family; his brother Josh also impressed me during Labproject 32 curated by Jason Sharp) who's teamed up with a few respected characters- namely accomplished bassist Joe Fonda (who's performed with everyone from Archie Shepp to Leo Smith and who's also performed with the similarly set up FAB Trio with Billy Bang and Barry Altschul), perhaps best known for his 15-year tenure with Anthony Braxton. The other contributor to this surprising edgy trio is Toronto percussionist Jean Martin, a sizzling modern beat manufacturer with a style all his own.
McCalla: Jean Martin is no banger. And Joe Fonda likes wearing little hats. Joe Fonda's a rock star in my opinion. Both he and Zubot complement each other beautifully, reminding me both of the intensity and the finesse we get from listening to someone like cellist Fred Longberg-Holm. A song like "Next Step" has all that schizophrenic bass talking I enjoy, a perfect match for Martin's inventive technical drumming, and Zubot's unpredictable violin theatrics. This is truly the Next Step!
JJE: I should add that Circle the Path is an album even my girlfriend liked- "it's not that crazy" were her exact words. Incorporating finely brushed details and tender plunks alongside the more intense numbers like the high-riding "Circle" is great thinking, but so is this young trio's ability to add standard blues and jazz idioms into the mix. To be filed under "lightly experimental, contemporary jazz & improv, quality stuff."
McCalla: This album is far more exciting than your filing.
Reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2007 panpot.ca and Jay Jay Erickson & McCalla.