The fourth album of the Berlin-based Hyperactive Kid trio – tenor sax player Philipp Gropper, guitarist Ronny Graupe and drummer Christian Lillinger, all leaders of their own outfits and members of countless others – suggests how European free jazz may sound in the 21st century.
The album offers the trio aesthetics at its best – strong, opinionated musicians yet their music is framed in a highly collaborative interplay, well-versed in the legacy of jazz but with an independent sound of its own, not bound to any genre or style and intense but not addicted to sheer outbursts of energy.
The live recording from the legendary A-Trane Club in Berlin and features the trio developing stimulating, non-linear pieces as a highly creative unit that knows how to balances between the urgent need for individual freedom and disciplined, supportive interplay. Each piece demonstrates differently these qualities. The album begins with the ironic «Legacy» that stresses the trio refusal to subscribe to any kind of legacy. This short introduction set the atmosphere – loose, energetic interplay that patiently gels in its last seconds into a dense, cathartic eruption. The following «Wes» alternate between a playful, tough rhythmic module that gains more power and more volition, but suddenly morphs into abstract, moody sonic searches. «Cocody» plays on a similar formula – urgent, swinging pulse, obscured suddenly by contemplative segments and back to the irresistible, rhythmic ride. «Sound to Groove» highlight the disciplined shaping of a spare theme, patiently moves between short, silent pauses until its tension reaches its climax and then gravitates to a free-form, rhythmic edge.
The last and longest piece, the 17-minutes «Bloom», summarizes all former approaches – explorative sonic musings, deep, emphatic interplay and rich palette of sounds that patiently accumulate into energetic flow of surprising ideas, that keeps the spirit of tension and danger throughout this impressive piece.
Philipp Gropper (ts), Ronny Graupe (g), Christian Lillinger (dr)