TRIO HOT – a name that inexorably evokes the bands that sprang up and around the Hot Clubs and enjoyed a heyday almost everywhere in Europe in the ‘30s. The TRIO HOT which consists of the violinist and founder of the band, Albrecht Maurer, a fixed member of the various string ensembles established by Kent Carter over the years, the clarinettist Theo Jörgensmann, one of the contemporary masters of the instrument, and the bassist Peter Jacquemyn, an acolyte of the late Peter Kowald whose legacy he honours by infusing new inventiveness, didn’t get its name merely by chance. In jazz history, the clarinet and the string instruments were first brought together during the swing era by such personages as Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Stéphane Grappelli or Joe Venuti. Forgotten for a good many years – indeed, only the West Coast musicians would continue to play the clarinet, and how! – the two instruments reappeared at about the same time on both sides of the Atlantic when the first wave of free jazz re-united them in non-hierarchical instrumental groups, a trend which would then go on to grow accordingly as free music and free improvisation began to detach itself from the more established forms of jazz
Admittedly the music of Trio Hot on Jink (surprising movement) bears only little resemblance to the music played by the small swing ensembles. Nonetheless, each piece in its continuous search for expression, a way of moving “Straight Into” (as the first title on the CD is called) the music, celebrates the pleasure of being and playing together from start to finish, qualities undoubtedly found in many other types of music but that undeniably belong to the jazz of that era. At least that’s what the music and the documented cinematography of that period confirm. Yet we cannot truly speak of swing here, even if one or the other piece has a certain dance-like feel to it, produced or intensified by intermittent bursts of the violin or the clarinet. In this respect, their interpretation of “Round Midnight”, the only composition allowed within the framework of twelve totally improvised pieces, perfectly sums up the many, sometimes contrasting but always complementary, aspects of Jink. As such, Monk’s composition manifests itself very late – and this on the longest track on the CD on which six of the pieces are no longer than four minutes, and none of them, except for the one in question, longer than ten minutes. In fact, one has to wait a whole eleven minutes before the clarinet closely followed by the violin finally plays that widely popular and famous Monkian tune. Before that, even though “Round Midnight” keeps wafting about as an apparition of sorts, the music first goes through a range of sonorous atonalities fulgent with an abstract whiff of New Music. Here, the musicians play with contrast and the dynamics of their respective instruments before embarking on a collective improvisation – tonal this time – in which one briefly hears Albrecht Maurer’s countertenor (already heard elsewhere in the shamanistic voice of the bassist). They then enter into a less turbulent moment, thereby creating room for the bassist Peter Jacquemyn’s strong solo which is suddenly cut short by Theo Jörgensmann’s clarinet which brings Monk back into play. After that, by intensifying the tone, they succeed in slightly distorting the melody before falling into silence, one by one…
Albrecht Maurer, Theo Jörgensmann, Peter Jacquemyn – three seasoned improvisers, three exceptional soloists who proffer tellurically grounded music throughout Jink, never shying away from the confrontation with nor the complexity of their instruments. And they accomplish this by means of a spontaneous kind of musical architecture, its continually shifting motif being by turns melodious, noisy, lyrical, contrapuntal, playful, narrative, abstract. A whole universe – uniquely that of TRIO HOT.