The Austrian trio Mario Rom’s Interzone – trumpeter Rom, double bass player Lukas Kranzelbinder (both are playing together also in Kranzelbinder’s septet Shake Stew), and drummer Herbert Pirker, celebrates its 10th anniversary with a fourth album, «Eternal Fiction». Interzone’s inclusive approach to jazz is inspired by William Burroughs’s stream of consciousness as captured in the film «Naked Lunch» (directed by David Cronenberg, 1991, with Ornette Coleman and Howard Shore composing the music) and follows the motto of «anything goes and everything is possible in the moment». The «Fiction» in the title of the new album marks an openly interpretable approach of Interzone after its first three albums were titled around the topic of truth – «Nothing is True» (Laub, 2012), «Everything is Permitted» (Laub/Traumton, 2015) and «Truth is Simple to Consume» (Laub/Traumton, 2017), and established an aura and mystery around this trio.
«Eternal Fiction» offers a mature and experienced, working trio with distinct and uncompromising dynamics and sound of its own – powerful, precise and intense, but also touching and tender. Rom is the leader and the composer of most of the pieces and obviously, gifted with virtuous technique and quiet charisma, but Interzone is not about individual virtuous playing. Its power lies in the unconventional way that Rom, Kranzelbinder and Pirker conjure together many sound universes, from tough free jazz to almost innocent Dixieland and blues, especially when all three improvising and soloing together, producing a sound much bigger of a trio.
«Eternal Fiction» highlights Interzone’s inclusive approach to jazz. It opens with the melancholic ballad «Are We Real?», so associated with Rom, with Rom’s full, warm and caressing trumpet sound. This leisured atmosphere changes on the fast «No Matter of Health» and the title-piece where Rom’s sensual trumpet floats over the percolating, muscular groove. Kranzelbinder’s only piece, «You’ll Find Me No More», sketches a sparse and enigmatic, cinematic soundscape, and his muscular bass playing propels «Lion Care» and «What You Say», with Rom alternating with extended breathing techniques on the latter.
Pirker’s tough and massive rhythmic pattern on «Matala» triggers one of the best solos of Rom, moving freely from tender, contemplative motives to fast and acrobatic ones, always with an impressive sense of poetic touch. «Phenomenon» comes close to the addictive, strong grooves of Shake Stew, and «Responsibility» is based on another strong pulse that allows Rom to soar higher and articulate another beautiful melody. The most beautiful, touching ballad, «Chant For The Voiceless», brings to mind the spiritual ballads of Charlie Haden. Interzone ends this fine album with the Ornette Coleman-tinged and playful «Here’s To Another Decade». I can take a few more decades.
Mario Rom (tp), Lukas Kranzelbinder (b), Herbert Pirker (dr)