|For Braam’s Wurli Trio, he trades in acoustic piano for a Wurlitzer 200 A electric piano. He leverages the bright-edged timbre of the electric keyboard, alluding to pop tonal colors while still driving the music with cascading, abstract flurries. These days, the Fender Rhodes is popping up with increasing regularity as a throwback to the sound of 70s fusion. But Braam is on to something more here, using the electric instrumentation to throw a new set of timbres and ensemble densities at his compositions.
With Douma and Kölsch on board, the music takes on a funkier edge than the open freedom of the acoustic trio. The two nail their parts with the precision that this music demands and provide a stalwart undercurrent for the improvisations. This gives the music an initial sense of being a bit more inside and more accessible. But a more careful listen reveals that Braam is toying with conventions in many of the same ways. The bouncy rhythms and bounding, elastic pulse laid down by bass and drums are pushed and stretched.
The trio caterwauls along, driving the pieces with propulsive vamps. But then they slowly start to open things up, letting the lines and grooves slide across the meter or letting the meter fade away into free sections, only to let it bubble up again. This is particularly true on the brooding “Nightsong Aches”, which ends the set (and is also a highlight of the acoustic release). The improvisation wafts along, looping a stately delivery of the theme with ringing piano chords, bent note bass, and spare, rattling percussion. While this unit doesn’t quite deliver the depth of his acoustic trio or Bik Bent Braam, it is still a diverting sideline that provides an opportunity to hear the trio tunes in a new context. One Final Note