Amsterdam Funk, Free Fall

Peter Margasak

By Peter Margasak

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A trans-Atlantic trio moves beyond mere homage and finds its voice.

This trans-Atlantic trio, with Chicago reedist Ken Vandermark, Norway's Håvard Wiik (piano) and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (bass), originally took its name and sonic inspiration from the famous 1962 Jimmy Giuffre album of the same title — a record with pianist Paul Bley and bassist Steve Swallow that offered a new style of chamber improvisation. Following the Giuffre model, Vandermark sticks exclusively to clarinet — although he does play some Dolphy-esque bass clarinet, too. Free Fall employs a degree of austerity and highly interactive improvisational gambits, but on this second album the trio moves beyond homage and finds its own voice. That means that sometimes they raise a dissonant din, while at other moments they veer much further from the compositional borders. There's also an excellent series of free improvisations dubbed “frameworks” that show the natural intuition and rapport these three musicians have.