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Guillermo Gregorio Trio: Red Cube (d)

Guillermo Gregorio has a unique bead on the gray area between post-serialist composition and cool school-informed chamber jazz. The Argentine reed player understands that implication is the communicative strong suit of both genres. Subsequently, serious attention must be paid to Gregorio’s music, where understatement resonates with a quiet power.

On Red Cube(d), Gregorio connects aspects of the swing era, West Coast jazz, and the third stream, with a fluid ensemble approach to improvisation. His trio with pianist Pandelis Karayorgis and violinist Mat Maneri is the perfect unit for such an endeavor; like Gregorio, they both place a premium on concision, and have the requisite idiomatic moorings to give fragmentary statements an allusive, ember-like glow.

In his liner notes, Gregorio recounts Billy Bauer’s story of how he and Flip Phillips would freely improvise in their off hours in hotel rooms, avoiding noise-related confrontations by throwing a blanket over themselves to muffle the music. This is an apt starting point to conceptualize the sound of Gregorio’s trio-a hushed blend of voices, a spontaneous exchange at point-blank range.

While Gregorio has previously recorded several compelling clarinet performances, Red Cube(d) features his most cogent outings on tenor saxophone to date. He invokes essences of Phillips, Chu Berry, and Lester Young, with authority.

Originally Published