The name of this trio suggests a power trio. The names of these prolific powerhouse musicians affirm this keen observation. But no worries, Boneshaker does no evil. It will not crush your bones, they will only shake and move few chosen bones, just to enable your body and soul to run faster.
The bone shakers are Chicagoan reeds player Mars Williams, an alumni of Ken Vandermark’s early phase of Vandermark 5, but known to many more as the founder of the jazz-hip hop-funk-fusion group Liquid Soul, and double bass player Kent Kessler, who plays with Vandermark in the DKV trio, plus Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, who plays with Vandermark in a long-standing duo.
Boneshaker’s third album was recorded live in Chicago on two occasions. Two pieces at the Elastic arts on January 2016 and the other two pieces with studio audience, as part of the Strobe sessions series, on June 2014.
Nilssen-Love set the singing tone of the opening «Brain Freeze», captured on the 2016 sessions, with a playful, rhythmic pattern that sounds as quoting Ethiopian songs; Williams joins and sings the melody, riding now on the massive rhythmic basis of Nilssen-Love and Kessler. Soon Boneshaker heats up the temperature and its momentum and brings this muscular, powerful free jazz piece close to a boiling point. But Williams, Kessler and Nilssen-Love know this game too well and in an instant change course and concluding it with a quiet and conversational interplay that is still faithful to the lyrical, singing spirit of this piece. The shorter «Puffy Fluffy» from the 2014 sessions, is a massive free jazz piece that revolves around a strong melodic theme, delivered by Williams.
«Salty Fruity», a 16-minutes piece, again from the 2016 sessions, suggests a completely different atmosphere. Williams, Kessler and Nilssen-Love focus on exploring new sounds and dynamics that deepen the mysterious, contemplative spirit of this quiet and peaceful piece. But towards the middle of this free-improvised piece Nilssen-Love sketches a polyrhythmic, dance-like rhythmic pattern that triggers Williams and Kessler to intensify it towards its ecstatic coda. The last «Wabi Sabi», again from the 2014 sessions, is an open improvisations, in its tone and its course, alternating between singing a sweet song and exploding with vibrant, nervous sounds.
Feel that my weary bones were shaken, thoroughly. Now I am – almost – as new.
Mars Williams (s, toy instruments), Paal Nilssen-Love (dr, perc), Kent Kessler (b)