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Mario Pavone: Blue Dialect

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In “Language,” each member of the Mario Pavone Trio takes a little more than a minute for a meterless unaccompanied solo, following the quick, arrhythmic staccato theme. Drummer Tyshawn Sorey creates low thunder across the toms. Pavone plucks wildly at his bass. Pianist Matt Mitchell uses the whole range of his instrument, keeping things pensive rather than heavy. This track comes two-thirds of the way through Blue Dialect and is the most linear example of Pavone’s writing for the trio. Coupled with the title, it appears to offer an examination of the players’ thought processes. Throughout the rest of the album, the proceedings sound knotted. It’s not quite as dense as Fiction, Mitchell’s 2013 album of piano exercises, but it feels almost as busy.

Not that Blue Dialect is impenetrable. The energy flows, unabated, throughout the album, with final track “Blue” bringing the set to a final boil. Sorey continues to be one of the most exciting drummers in modern jazz, using his whole kit to propel the band. Mitchell is an unending flow of ideas, frequently harmonizing in a way that implies an additional instrument. Pavone alternately anchors the group and moves freely throughout his compositions.

At the same time, it’s often hard to latch onto any idea the group is trying to communicate; discerning the theme from an improvisation throughout these nine tracks is a challenge even during focused listening. In a sense, “Trio Dialect,” which is credited to all three players and presumably a group improvisation, contains nearly as much clarity as many of the composed tracks. There is no denying the rapport among these players, but taken in one sitting, the waves of sounds can overwhelm.

Originally Published