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Giacomo Merega/David Tronzo/Noah Kaplan: The Light and Other Things

This is the debut recording of Italian-born electric bassist Giacomo Merega, although given the collaborative nature of the music, it’s fair that guitar innovator David Tronzo and Brooklyn-based saxophonist Noah Kaplan get equal billing. Inspired in part by the work of Swiss-German painter Paul Klee (1879-1940), the trio puts forward a music of high abstraction, with suggestive hints of tonality and tempo and an emphasis on contrasting timbres.

Klee’s art was in many ways unclassifiable, making this CD an apt tribute (though not the first: Gunther Schuller composed a suite honoring the painter in 1959). Merega and Kaplan are both steeped in the microtonal language of reedist Joe Maneri. Tronzo has developed his left-of-center slide guitar methods in a variety of contexts, including the bands Slow Poke, Spanish Fly and Mr. Lucky. This encounter, with 10 improvisations ranging from two to 10 minutes long, falls between the disciplinary cracks and follows its own logic.

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