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STIAN LARSEN / ANDREW LISLE / COLIN WEBSTER

«Zeal and Perseverance»
VA FANGOOL, VAFCD021

The humor and literary approach of Irish author, playwright and satirist Flann O’Brien (1911-1966) inspired the playful pieces of the new punk-jazz trio of Norwegian electric guitarist Stian Larsen and British alto sax player player Colin Webster and percussionist-drummer Andrew Lisle. Larsen already collaborated with Webster before in the KTHXBYE trio («Details», Raw tonk, 2016, with Norwegian drummer Brage Tørmænen, while Webster and Lisle collaborate steadily a duo and in the Kodian Trio (with guitarist Dirk Serries). The debut album of this trio was recorded at Soup Studios in London in February 2019 after a series of concerts in England and Norway.

«Zeal and Perseverance» captures faithfully the essence of the trio: hard-hitting and dynamic play of pushing and crisscrossing musical borders that visits and reshapes our conceptions of free jazz, rock and noise territories. The opening, title piece demonstrates clearly this kind of nervous, dense and intense interplay, but the following one, «Bark Answers Bark», already moves in a totally different course, sparse, patient and minimalist.

And so «Zeal and Perseverance» keep flowing. The brief «Lightsome And Unperturbed» explodes with brutal energy. «Sober and Industrious» offer a more playful and obviously, ironic atmosphere. «Watercress At Evening» shifts slowly from quiet yet disturbing white noises blended into an ambient-ethereal drone to a manic, free jazz improvisation. The last and longest piece «Bird Flying On A Broomstick» is a fine exploration of the resourceful and highly inventive sonic vocabulary of this trio.

I got a feeling that Flann O’Brien would have approved this trio sonic output. You can find certain similarities in the surreal, eccentric interplay of this trio and O’Brien unorthodox sense of humor.

Eyal Hareuveni 

Stian Larsen (g), Andrew Lisle (dr), Colin Webster (as) 

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