«Multi-Directional» brings together three of the leading British free improvising musicians – drummer Andrew Lisle, double bass player John Edwards and pianist Kit Downes. The album is the debut of this trio, recorded at London’s Cafe Oto in November 2020 during a brief window of opportunity between the Covid-19 lockdowns. Lisle recorded before with Edwards (the quartet with guitarist Dirk Serries and Raw Tonk’s label head sax player Colin Webster, «Peck and Fleet», Raw Tonk, 2021), but this was the first recording session of the trio.
You can feel immediately the instant and profound musical rapport between these experienced improvisers. The two extended pieces, the aptly titled «Vehemence» and «Ardency», capture the deep emotions felt during this inspired session and reflect the stressful times and the great uncertainty in the world, but also the uplifting joy pf playing together.
As you can expect, this is no conventional piano trio. The propulsive drumming of Lisle and the powerful bass playing of Edwards set the urgent atmosphere of «Vehemence» and push Downes to run all over the piano keys but this trio never surrenders to familiar dynamics or clear rhythmic patterns. Soon after the stormy opening, Downes suggests a contemplative, chamber vein, immediately abstracted by Dwards’ arco playing and sparse drumming of Lisle, and then all shift instantly into a free jazz mode, and later even flirt with groove dynamics, a blues and abstract sonic searches. These sudden and fast shifts highlight the organic flow of the music as well as the democratic interplay, and obviously, the imaginative instincts of these resourceful improvisers. «Ardency» begins as an introspective, chamber piece but, again, this trio refuses to succumb to chartered courses and insists on searching, experimenting and investigating its vast sonic horizons. The trio builds its power n an almost methodical but totally free manner and establishes more powerful rhythmic dynamics. Great trio.
Andrew Lisle (dr), John Edwards (b), Kit Downes (p)