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A free-wheeling approach to experimentation

Love Henry
Love Henry
By the Clusone Trio

Gramavision Records: 1997

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At the far fringes of jazz there have always been those denizens who so defy convention that they are dismissed as makers of noise, not music. From the bop sounds of Charlie Parker to the free jazz of Ornette Coleman to the fusion of John McLaughlin, these explorers have been condemned as heretics, rejected as infidels. Of course, the better of them have changed the music by expanding its boundaries, but broadening the definition of jazz for those who follow.

In the above categories add the name of the Clusone Trio, a Dutch combo that toys with tradition and frequently ignores accepted structures. While wild and out there in their music, the members of the Clusone 3 are always impassioned in their defiance – none of the stuffy academic approach of an Anthony Braxton for them; they're in the freewheeling lineage of Henry Threadgill.

In addition to their frequently discordant compositions, the combo's instrumentation is a challenge to the establishment: cello, saxophone and drums. Not exactly the norm, eh?

If the music of Clusone Trio's newest CD is generally raucous bordering on cacophonous, it is always redeemed by their combination of outstanding musicianship and the logic of their compositions – the sense that their senselessness has a larger purpose than the mere state of being grating.

Listening to this CD is a challenge – probably not good for background music when Aunt Maud comes over, not with Michael Moore's simulation of flatulence on saxophone – but it's also fun and a little crazy.