The genre-defying triumvirate of adept pianist, organist, and composer Roy Powell, guitarist Jacob Young and drummer Jarle Vespestad comes out blazing with a vengeance on InterStatic, their self-titled RareNoiseRecords debut and second release overall, following their ambitious 2011 outing, Anthem. Seamlessly combining elements of jazz, experimental, ambient and rock, the scintillating power trio stretches in typically intense fashion, extending the organ trio tradition established by Jimmy Smith and taken to realms beyond on such groundbreaking recordings as Tony Williams Lifetime’s Emergency! (with Larry Young and John McLaughlin) and John Abercrombie’s Timeless (with Jan Hammer and Jack DeJohnette).
“I love all the organ players who have redefined the instrument and kept it relevant to successive generations,” says Hammond B-3 maestro Powell, who contributes six compositions on InterStatic. “That includes modern day players like Larry Goldings and Sam Yahel. I´m also very influenced by the sound of pipe organ music such as that of Olivier Messiaen, which I find to be almost an out of body listening experience.” Powell also performed on two recent RareNoiseRecords releases, bassist Lorenzo Feliciati’s Frequent Flyer and Naked Truth’s Shizaru.
With the remarkably flexible drummer Jarle Vespestad (known for his work with Tord Gustavsen, Silje Nergaard, Supersilent, and Farmers Market) alternating between deliberate, big-as-a-house backbeats to surging swing grooves to dreamy rubato playing, and Nordic guitar star Jacob Young summing up myriad tones and textures on his heavily-effected axe, Powell underscores with velvety B-3 cushions while layering on affecting organ melodies and Moog synth solos throughout this evocative collection.
Says Powell, a British émigré living in Oslo, “The music on InterStatic is a change in direction from Anthem in the sense that we were feeling our way on the first one and now we have found it. On this new recording we deliberately wanted to reference (Norwegian guitarist) Terje Rypdal and a general early ECM influence together with more modern bands like Air, Washed Out and post-punk bands like The Durutti Column. In other words, a mix of influences both old and new.”
Adds Young, “InterStatic has a stronger sense of direction than our previous album Anthem had, it has more of an innovative touch than traditional. Much of this has to do with concrete discussions we had about the musical direction we wanted to explore when rehearsing. Essentially, we got bored with making another album that sounded like something we had either done before or heard before. We wanted to get more out and away from the typical jazz scene in Norway and needed a new calling card.”
Powell describes the group’s mission statement on InterStatic: “To create an instrumental organ-guitar-drums band reflecting modern preoccupations, reflecting contemporary musicians’ diverse influences regardless of genre boundaries.” From track to track, they live up to the boundary-pushing imperative.
The moody opener “Stills,” imbued with eerie B-3 chords from Powell and fueled by Vespestad’s power-precision drumming, instantly breaks the traditional organ group mold. The aggressively swinging “First Vision,” paced by Vespestad’s Elvin Jones-inspired drumming and marked by Young’s warm distortion tone and Rypdal-like fluidity, showcases the jazzy side of the trio while the ethereal improvisations “Flatland 1 & 2” reveal a more searching, experimental quality. “Washed Up” turns Young loose with grungy distortion-wah tones in full effect against Vespestad’s thrashing drums and “Real Time” is a slow, funeral ballad highlighting Young’s lyrical touch on guitar.
The kinetic title track is an explosion of chops pitting Young’s wailing fretboard flights against Vespestad’s swinging pulse. And the dreamy ballad “Water Music,” underscored by Young’s acoustic guitar strumming, is a calming breath before the tumult of the intensely slamming “The Elverum Incident,” a raw, distortion-laced romp that triggers memories of early Tony Williams Lifetime. And for a change of pace, there’s a slow-grooving, blues-soaked jam band number, “Americana,” which has Young dipping deeply into his effects bag.
“This time out we decided that the music had to be stripped down to elementary components, giving each one of us clear and designated parts to play while keeping focus on the interactive and improvisational parts that we see as one of our strengths,” says Young. “We deliberately wanted to go for something that was crossover yet make something that you couldn’t label in an instance. We wanted something we perceived as fresh. So we decided to throw away any tunes that were too complex harmonically, just as a way of closing down our frames or narrowing our possibillities, so that we would focus more on the musical content within the form. Essentially, it’s freedom under pressure.”
Powell and Vespestad have been playing together since the pianist/organist moved to Oslo in 1996. They have played together on seven recordings, including two of Powell’s piano trio outings, Holus and Solace. “I have always loved Jarle’s playing and esthetic,” says Powell. “He is an artist in the true sense of the word.”
Young, who has seven albums as a leader to his credit, including two acclaimed recordings on ECM, came into the picture much later. As Powell recalls, “As soon as I started to focus on organ as my main instrument, from 2008 onward, word got around and Jacob being a guitarist who likes to play with organ was soon in touch. I immediately was struck by his extraordinary originality on the guitar and his great songwriting ability.”
Says Young, “Roy called me after being a bit frustrated playing Hammond organ in a very traditional jazz trio, which is something he definitely wanted to move away from. So he called and asked if I would like to play with him in an organ-guitar-drum trio that aimed for a modern approach. I agreed and we both talked about Jarle being our first choice on drums for this group. I had worked with Jarle some years ago in one of my earlier quintet groups, before I started recording for ECM. He plays drums on my album Glow from 2001. We also did some freelance work together through the years and remained friends. Luckily, Jarle agreed and we started rehearsing. Our chemistry was immediate but has also developed over time.”
The evidence is apparent on their audacious RareNoiseRecords debut, InterStatic.
UPCOMING INTERSTATIC WORLDWIDE PERFORMANCES:
April 18 | Organ Club | Belleville, Oslo
June 10 | Vortex Jazz Club | London, UK
June 28 | ShapeShifter Lab (double bill with Bob Belden’s Animation) | New York, NY
July 19 | Gezmataz Genoa Jazz Festival | Genoa, Italy
InterStatic · InterStatic
RareNoiseRecords · Release Date: June 12, 2012
For more information on InterStatic and RareNoiseRecords, visit: RareNoiseRecords.com
..:: SOURCE: DL Media ::..