Norwegian reeds and trumpet player Torben Snekkestad has been collaborating with British double bass master Barry Guy and Catalan pianist Agustí Fernández in different constellations during the last decade. Snekkestad and Guy recorded in 2011 a duo album, «Slip Slide And Collide» (Maya, 2014) and a year later met again in the recording of Danish pianist Søren Kjærgaard’s The Living Room, «Live At Literaturhaus» (ILK Music, 2015). The trio met for the first time at the recordings of Guy’s Blue Shroud Band (the self-titled debut album, Intakt, 2016, the 4-discs «Tensegrity» (Small Formations) and the 5-discs, «Odes And Meditations For Cecil Taylor» (Not Two, 2016 and 2019), but a concert at Copenhagen JazzFestival in July 2017, captured on «Louisiana Variations» (Fundacja Słuchaj!, 2018), marked the real beginning of this trio.
Snekkestad, Guy and Fernández are masters of the art free-improvisation, free and highly creative spirits who refuse to subscribe to binding musical legacies, genres or styles. The sophomore album of this iconoclastic trio – «The Swiftest Traveler» (referencing Henry David Thoreau’s brilliant quote from the Classic Walden: «…the swiftest traveler is he who goes afoot»), recorded, again, live at the Loft, Cologne in June 2018, and navigates freely and organically between free improvisation, free jazz and contemporary music. Clearly, the live setting brings the best of this trio. The communication between these highly creative masters is super fast but remarkably deep. The music moves and explores simultaneously different dimensions – surprising and innovative sounds, singular extended techniques and fascinating textures.
This trio does not spend its time. Already on the first piece «Both Directions» the trio dives instantly into a tense yet intimate interplay that does not need more than sparse, minimalist gestures to sketch a complex and thoughtful but also beautiful and poetic texture. The following, title-piece emphasizes the instant manner of shifting swift ideas created during a collective free-improvisation and constant search for new, challenging sonorities into a multilayered, functioning architecture. «Sway» suggests how three distinct improvising strategies and personal techniques touch and go in an abstract manner before gravitating into a steaming, free jazz texture. There is a sense of rare, innocent playfulness on the chamber «InSitu» and a different, more intense kind of playfulness on the following, free jazz «Slip, Slide & Rattle», looking back and rattling the first recording of Snekkestad and Guy. «Dwells» is a magnificent exploration of almost seductive, silent sounds and minimalist patterns through careful employment of extended techniques. The last «Interlude» is another intimate and poetic, almost classic texture that reaffirms again the great imagination and profound sonic vocabulary of these resourceful, swift travelers.
Torben Snekkestad (ts, ss, tp, cl), Agusti Fernández (p), Barry Guy (b)