Often free-improvised music is more interesting when it does not rely on strategies innovated by jazz or free jazz musicians. The New York-based Flinn Lylte Maroney Trio – featuring percussionist Stephen Flinn, hyper-pianist Denman Maroney and bass clarinet player Michael Lytle- has been active since 2015, using new music ideas to enrich its spontaneously improvised music. «Itinerant», recorded on May 2017, is the sophomore album of the trio, following «Anello» that was released in 2016 on Michael Lytle’s label, Elewhale Music.
Flinn, Lylte and Maroney are highly experienced composers-improvisers. Flinn, who has collaborated with Jaap Blonk, Mats Gustafsson and Nate Wooley among many others, often works with unusual sound sources, including found objects, and has been using rhythms to teach positive communication, social skills, and academic concepts to intellectually and physically challenged individuals. Lytle is known from Nick Didkovsky’s Dr. Nerve and his collaborations with John Zorn, double bass master Robert Black and Hemingway. He has invented unique methods of clarinet family sonic modulation and performance. Maroney, known from his collaborations with double bass master Mark Dresser, drummer Gerry Hemingway and trumpeter Dave Douglas, utilizes extended bowing and sliding techniques on the strings of the piano by manipulating certain objects on them while playing the keys to create different resonances and dissonances.
The four, untitled pieces of «Itinerant» suggest delicate and mysterious soundscapes where fragmented sounds are shaped, mirrored and reflected by other, fragile and almost silent sounds until all gravitate into loose sonic events. The deep-toned, extended breathing techniques of Lytle resonate with the light, almost transparent, percussive sounds of Flinn and echoed by the manipulated strings of the hyper-piano of Maroney. Only the third improvisation, «10:21» attempts to frame this sparse, minimalist interplay within fleeting contours of a lyrical-melancholic theme. The last «09:41» sketches an exotic, Far-Eastern ritual where the sparse, resonating sounds provoke us with with questions about the essence of spontaneously, improvised music, the process of composition and the nature of the sounds themselves, like Zen Kōans.
Stephen Flinn (perc), Michael Lytle (bcl, contrabcl), Denman Maroney (p)