Intakt CD 162




Christian Streulet, Le Courrier, Suisse, 27 juin 2009


Interview avec Oliver Lake, Guillaume Belhomme, sur Le son du grisli, France, juillet 2009


Eric Mandel, Jazzthetik, Deutschland, Juli/August 2009


Mit dem TRIO 3, dem blankschädligen Verbund des Altosaxophonisten Oliver Lake (*1942), des Kontrabassisten Reggie Workman (*1937) und des Drummers Andrew Cyrille (*1939), ist man so nah am Herzen der Great Black Music wie es nur geht. Der Auftakt von At This Time (Intakt CD 162), 'Swamini (for Alice Coltrane/Turiyanasangitananda)‘, eine Komposition ihrer Partnerin, der Pianistin GERI ALLEN (*1957), und auch der zweite Song, Eric Dolphys 'Gazzeloni‘, führen in das halbmythische Heroenzeitalter dieser Musik. Als Workman mit Coltrane spielte und Cyrille mit Cecil Taylor, gehörte ein Klavier so selbstverständlich dazu wie Whisky und Zigaretten. Allen, die in Altmans Kansas City Mary Lou Williams verkörperte, war nur ein junger Trieb an dem alten Baum, an dem man bei 'Lake‘s Jump‘ schwingt, das Curtis Clark für Lake geschrieben hat. Wer mehr oder etwas anderes wollte, der sägte an Ästen und besonders gern am Klavier. Auch das Trio 3 begann 1986 ohne. Das Spiel mit Irene Schweizer (Berne Concert) und nun Allen ist daher wie eine neugierige Rückkehr in ältere, d.h. jüngere Tage, als Allen in New York zuerst mit Lake‘s Jump Up spielte und Cyrille 1984 auf ihrem Leaderdebut The Printmakers. Statt junger Löwen schätzt man heute die ewige Jugend, in der die Vier mit souveräner Finesse Akzente setzen, dunkle Arcostriche, Almglocken und Innenklaviergehopse bei 'For Patrik L.‘, einer Dankadresse an den Intaktmacher, Basketballtempo und rasante Tripplings bei 'All Net‘ und 'Current‘, Schmus und Innenklaviergezirpe bei Lakes 'Long Melody‘ und sein vogeliges Geflöte bei Cyrilles träumerischem 'Tey‘, Congatamtam bei 'Barbara‘s Rainbow‘. Den Abschluss macht wieder Allen mit 'In the Realm... of the Child...‘, ein Wiegenlied und Nachtgebet, das Cyrille in einen luftigen Marsch verwandelt und das mit einer Ausblende verklingt.
Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, Deutschland, 63/2009


The publicity surrounding the release of At This Time is making much of the addition of a pianist to Trio 3's saxophone, bass and drums line-up. Arguably, however, the inclusion of a keyboard, played by Geri Allen, isn't the album's most significant feature. True, during the course of the group's 23-year history, most of its work has been piano-less. But its unofficial curtain-raiser, Synthesis (Leo, 1986), made under bassist Reggie Workman's name, featured pianist Marilyn Crispell alongside the trio of Workman, altoist Oliver Lake and drummer Andrew Cyrille. More recently, pianist Irene Schweizer augmented the line-up for Berne Concert (Intakt, 2007).
What is, perhaps, more significant here is the span of generations and outlooks embodied by the musicians. Workman and Cyrille were born within a couple of years of each other in the late 1930s and first came to notice among the avant-garde of the 1960s, Workman in bands led by saxophonist John Coltrane, Cyrille with pianist Cecil Taylor. Lake, born in 1944, is a few years older, but came up in a similar milieu, his playing heavily informed, at least initially, by radical 1960s reed player and occasional Coltrane collaborator Eric Dolphy. Those earlier guest pianists, Crispell (born 1947) and Schweitzer (born 1941), are of more or less the same generation.
Allen, relatively speaking, is the new kid on the block. Born in 1957, she was a child during the stylistic revolutions of the 1960s, and though she subsequently rewound her listening to absorb the icons of that era, she is firmly in the post-modern mould of more recent decades, her multi-faceted approach referencing an eclectic range of styles.
Allen's love of tunes and chord progressions, and her flowing rhapsodism, make her an imaginative choice of partner for Trio 3 and the meeting works marvelously. While they have substance, neither "All Net" and "Current," the duo of tracks halfway through the album whose intensity and abstraction are more characteristic of the trio's work, linger as long in the mind as other, more structured and mellifluous pieces. Allen's opener, "Swamini," begins and ends with the impressionistic arpeggios and cadenzas, finger cymbals and Eastern sonorities associated with pianist and harpist Alice Coltrane, to whom it is dedicated. Dolphy's faster, spikier "Gazzeloni," which follows, is more in the hue of pianist/composer Thelonious Monk, and Allen's centerpiece solo is full of Monkish note clusters and percussive emphases. "Lake's Jump" is a hard swinging, medium fast blues with throwaway references to the bop warhorse "Night In Tunisia" in its theme. At 8:25 it's the longest track and features solid in-the-tradition saxophone, piano and bass solos.
Lake switches to flute for Cyrille's slow drag "Tey," a refreshing solace just shy of six lovely minutes. And while Allen's closing "In The Realm Of The Child Of True Humanity Within" doesn't explicitly reference Alice Coltrane's playing, it is informed by her spirit. Moving from pretty to turbulent and back again, At This Time rings some engaging changes for Trio 3.
Chris May,, USA, Juli 09, 2009


The trio of Lake, Workman and Cyrille is, by now, seasoned in the right way. All three players are relative veterans and the depth of their shared musical understanding is obvious in everything they do. This time, Geri Allen's pianist's skill is an amalgam of Paul Bley and Andrew Hill harmonically speaking, though it's only fair to emphasize that such names are merely points of reference, to accentuate the self-contained nature of her musical output.
All the experience implied here wouldn't amount to much if the music produced led to a whole lot of nothing, but the opposite is true. The shared group identity does not result in the negation of the members' individual voices. The trick is pulled off with no little skill, especially with reference to Eric Dolphy's "Gazzeloni." If ever a musician was equipped with the resources and trenchancy of opinion necessary to do justice to Dolphy's perhaps increasingly enigmatic music, then Oliver Lake's the man. He turns in a solo to prove it, all irregular intervallic leaps and off-kilter ebullience.
Lake's "Long Melody" provides a reflective interlude, proving that the mood comes easily when a group is as empathetic as this one. The subtle dynamics don't diminish the momentum of the piece, but it's not as if velocity is something the performance overtly strives for. In the interest of those dynamics, both Allen and drummer Andrew Cyrille deploy an augmented vocabulary and the end result creates a craving for more of this shaded, essentially timeless methodology.
Cyrille's reflective "Tey" offers proof—if ever needed—that he's one of the highly select band of drummers who also happen to be distinctive composers. Lake, on flute, portrays James Spaulding in his ability to bring two different sensibilities to bear on both his alto saxophone and flute work. The result is compelling, especially as the entire band has a collective and highly evolved understanding of tension and release. When Allen starts in on her solo, it's a quietly glorious moment in itself, rendered all the more so by the individual yet entirely unmannered essence of her playing.
"Barbara's Rainbow" is a group credit, and assuming it's an in-the-moment creation, it's a credit to this group's ever-present shared understanding. Lake has always been a distinct stylist on soprano sax too, and here he proves the point once again, much to this album's benefit.
Nic Jones,, USA, July 24, 2009


30-odd years ago, the lineup of Trio 3—a veritable supergroup—might have seemed surprising. By the mid-'70s, drummer Andrew Cyrille had fed polyrhythmic invention to Cecil Taylor's unit structures and tuned drums for ten years, while bassist Reggie Workman was known for his work with Coltrane and a number of Blue Note artists. Reedman Oliver Lake, who had relocated to New York from St. Louis via Paris, was a former member of the Black Artists Group, an AACM parallel organization. All of that history is important to recognizing where Trio 3 comes from and how their aesthetic, alternating between frenetic harrying salvos and sparser collective calls, might differ from a number of extremely capable "power trios" on the contemporary scene.

Trio 3 + Geri Allen
At This Time
One might think that adding a pianist to the equation would shake up the order enough that the longstanding group aesthetic is turned on its head. However, Trio 3 is an open enough group that the addition of a strong fourth personality shifts the dynamic rather than changing it. Two new recordings add, alternately, Geri Allen and Irene Schweizer to the proceedings. Allen has, in fact, become a regular participant, first joining the trio in 2008. On At This Time, her first recording with Trio 3, the fit is clear.
Allen's keen awareness of tense space and how to punctuate and drive it up a notch are evident from plucked piano strings, wooden knocks and, on Lake's "Long Melody," unsettling paper rustle. Alternately, her pointillist blues are laconic behind Lake's flute on "Tey" or rumbling gospel on "Lake's Jump." A consummate postbop number, jaunty and with a hairy turnaround in its theme, the latter is a beautiful example of the work of this augmented trio. As the group spreads out into a modal plateau a minute in, delicate glassy mobiles orbit around Lake's acrid alto. Bubble and grit characterize his solo over a skipping beat, the rug constantly being tugged but never quite pulled out. Miniature runs, fiery spit and roiling pools from Allen's fingers flesh out the piece, her own statement an inner dialogue echoing, clambering and advancing into spiky floridity. She returns to ambiguous shading for Workman's taut pizzicato solo before the head returns. It's a downright tiring performance, in the best sense, and encompasses only part of what this unit can do.

Trio 3 + Irene Schweizer
Berne Concert
Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer worked with Cyrille in the latter half of the '80s, but Berne Concert is their first recording together in a full-band context. Though certainly both Schweizer and Allen have an affinity for Paul Bley, not to mention commanding the range of textures available both inside and outside the piano, they are more different than similar. Schweizer is a volcanic player whose motives have a painterly cast and rhythmic cells that, while recalling Cecil Taylor, are rougher and more impulsive. There's almost a clash of voices in Lake's composition "Flow" that opens the set—her rhythmic approach seems contradictory to the saxophonist's squirrely bebop, an epic command of the keyboard's breadth in rapid, thick gestures. Cyrille and Workman seem much more comfortable in this case, the drummer dissecting her phrases while maintaining extraordinary plasticity.
Unlike At This Time, Berne Concert presents duos and trios as well as the quartet—a piano-bass duet begins with tentative rumbling and delicate, tart chordal voicings as Schweizer follows Workman's pliant solemnity with gradually increasing drive. On "Timbral Interplay," a woven, minimal carpet of mallets and toms gives support to the pianist's contrasting network of phrase-rhythms, evidence of the rapport between Schweizer and Cyrille. Though a bit disjointed at times, Berne Concert presents four of the music's most creative figures going for broke—the result is tremendously exciting, even if not always successful.
Clifford Allen,, USA, August 8, 2009


Article about Geri Allen, from Greg Thomas, All about Jazz New York, USA, August 2009


Geri Allen: Journey to the Light
Geri Allen's playing and compositional efforts manifest a stylistic flexibility grounded in her absorption of the lessons of the masters of the jazz idiom, and her desire to innovate upon that legacy. As an apprentice during high school and college, and then as a journeywoman, Allen has kept company with musical legends.
She just returned from a very successful European tour with "Timeline," a jazz quartet which integrates tap dance into its core arrangements; Maurice Chestnut is the dancer. She recently led an All-Star group featuring Ravi Coltrane and Jeff "Tain" Watts at the Iridium in Manhattan. Allen has illuminated the band stands of Betty Carter, Ornette Coleman, Dave Holland, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Lester Bowie, Charles Lloyd, Ron Carter, and Jack DeJohnette. At various points in her career, she has also worked with the men of the long-established Trio 3 ensemble: Andrew Cyrille, Oliver Lake and Reggie Workman. She considers the collaboration on the just-released Trio 3 recording At This Time one of the highlights of her journey.
Trio 3 was formed without a pianist so bassist Workman, drummer Cyrille, and alto saxophonist and flutist Oliver Lake could explore harmonic conceptions freely. Workman says Allen's "tasteful and intellectual approach" made her the most logical choice for a "musical conversation with a chordal instrumentalist who also has a unique approach to improvisation and composition.
"Being deeply rooted in a wide variety of music and styles gives her the necessary strength and conviction. One can readily notice her quick, tasteful spontaneity as she approaches each challenge put before her," Workman said. His band mate Cyrille, equally skilled in free and straight-ahead jazz, made note of the "soulfulness and beauty in her playing. She ranks at the top with those other pianists of her generation who have absorbed what has gone before in this music and continue to play and develop new music concepts that we can presently participate in and enjoy, while laying foundations for future generations of musicians as well."
Allen feels that melding her conception with the Trio 3 ensemble links her to the artistic heritage of each: "I feel very honored to be a part of that connection. There's a power, authenticity, and honesty in At This Time. A personal power and fearlessness comes through. I'm just excited, at this point of my musical journey, to have the opportunity to enjoy being creative with these three musicians again."
In 2008 Allen, an Associate Professor of Jazz And Contemporary Improvisation at the University Of Michigan (in Ann Arbor), was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, which she has used to compose a solo recording, Refractions: Flying Toward the Sound, soon to be released by Motema Music. Refractions, or the change in direction that occurs when a wave of energy such as light passes from one medium to another, signifies Allen's dance with Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock, three of music's most important pianists, and three of her major influences.
The beautiful, soft-spoken Allen was born in Pontiac, Michigan and reared in Detroit. She attributes her love of jazz to her father: "I remember seeing his records and the beautiful art work on them, and how elegant, stylish and sophisticated the people were. People like Ellington, Charlie Parker, Sarah, Ella. He played the music all the time when my brother Mount and I were little.
"I remember my mother taking us to the Young People's concerts at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. We watched Leonard Bernstein's concerts on television as well, and I remember the piano really resonating with me." She began playing the piano at 7, and studied with Patricia Wilhelm from the beginning through high school. Wilhelm, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati Music School, introduced the young pianist to a solid method of practice. Allen studied much of the European piano repertoire, and her teacher also encouraged Allen's love for jazz. "That type of open-mindedness was unusual at the time, and although she had no real knowledge of jazz, she instinctively understood it took the same level discipline and study European classical did, and she respected that."
Her early experience in the Christian church was another source of musical grounding and spiritual awareness. "I went to church every Sunday growing up, and have memories of our pastor; he was brilliant. Music was a key part of the experience. I would sometimes play for the choir and even sang in the choir. That experience laid a foundation for my future interest in the sacred works of Mary Lou Williams."
Her grandfather, Mount Vernell Allen, was a Methodist minister, and Geri comes from a family of educators. "I understood that there was a fundamental connection in my family to spirituality. My mother is my role model still, and her kindness, gentle nature and firm self-awareness are still my goals today. My father was a Principal in the Detroit public schools for 35 years, and made a huge impact on many young people whom were fortunate to come under his guidance and wisdom. My family has always been very spiritually based, and focused on helping the community through education. Music was my way of expressing that same kind of desire to connect."
The Detroit public schools produced some of the most exceptional musical talent the world has known. Allen considers herself very fortunate for the education she received there. She began attending Cass Technical High School in 1972. The school is famous for graduates such as Donald Byrd, Ron Carter and Milt Jackson.
"The teachers had an expectation that was very high. It made us rise to that expectation. From the beginning, when I stepped in there, I knew it was no joke. I had one teacher there, Marilyn Jones, who ran the jazz ensemble. Her husband was a jazz musician. She put the whole Smithsonian Jazz Collection together as a source of study for us. I also sang in the school's Madrigals Choir, and iconic trumpeter Donald Byrd was so good as to allow us to perform his beautiful and challenging vocal work, A New Perspective."
Another trumpeter master, Marcus Belgrave, a bebopper who played at Motown and with Ray Charles, also did a residence at Cass High School. "He was really helpful in organizing Detroit's musicians. Marcus suggested that instead of having the young people pick up trash in the streets in the summer, that they form a big band, rehearse all day, and sit next to master musicians from the area such as Roy Brooks, the McKinney brothers, Lamont Hamilton, and Kenny Cox. That's brilliant. Kenny Garrett, Bob Hurst, Eli Fontaine and I would be paid to practice as teenagers.
"Marcus was my entree into clubs. After he completed his artist-in-residency at Cass, I brought him some of my early, fledgling compositions. They weren't very good, but to encourage me he booked studio time, and brought in some great musicians to play my songs. That validated me as a composer; that said to me, this is something you can pursue. Under Marcus, we had a very open environment. It was the same with drummer Roy Brooks. These generous master musicians were paving a way for our generation, as well as the next generation. Regina Carter and James Carter also benefited from this experience."
Howard University in Washington D.C. was the next stop on her musical excursion. "Washington was a very rich experience. I went to Howard pursuing Donald Byrd, but by the time I got there he had moved on, so I then had the good fortune to study with John Malachi, who was a member of the famous Billy Eckstine band. Sarah Vaughan was also in the band, and later John continued working with her as her pianist. John Malachi was a wonderful teacher; he showed me 'Ruby, My Dear' exactly the way Monk had showed him. He'd talk about Mary Lou Williams often, and how gracious she was, and how she would open up her home to all of the piano players, a piano salon experience. He talked about Art Tatum and how he'd play all night if you just gave him a beer. Monk would be there. Bud Powell would be there as would Dr. Billy Taylor, whom I am honored to say became my mentor, and continues to be a great inspiration for me."
Allen has had a great friendship over the years with Fr. Peter O'Brien, S.J., the Executive Director of The Mary Lou Williams Foundation. He has shared memories of Mary Lou Williams with Allen, and together they formed the Mary Lou Williams Collective for the performance of her extensive body of work. As Musical Director, Allen recorded Zodiac Suite: Revisited with Buster Williams, Billy Hart and Andrew Cyrille. She also played Mary Lou Williams in Robert Altman's 1997 feature film, Kansas City. Allen is also currently in discussion with film maker Carol Bash about composing the music for the upcoming documentary on Williams, The Lady Who Swings The Band.
"In 1982, I moved to Pittsburgh and was encouraged by Dr. Nathan Davis, who has a wonderful program at the University of Pittsburgh, to study ethnomusicology. I wasn't quite ready for New York, and did want to further my studies, and advance my playing. Dr. Davis offered me a teaching assistantship towards a Master's in Ethnomusicology. During that period, I spoke with musicians there who knew Mary Lou, and I actually lived for a while in East Liberty, where she grew up. Her iconic career was very illuminating. I was greatly moved by her work as a pianist, a composer, a conceptualist and as a free thinker. She knew who she was, she knew her worth, and she unapologetically pursued her artistry. I'm grateful to her for so many things."
Williams, who would have been 100 years old in 2010, inspired Allen's "For The Healing Of The Nations," a Sacred Jazz Suite in a choral setting written in tribute to the families, victims and survivors of the 9/11 tragedy. The title of the suite comes from the Bible and centers on various sacred texts. "God, the center, the core of our strength and the power of love and healing, is the only place I could look to, to find comfort when such things happen. The poet, and initiate of the project, Sandra Turner Barnes wrote much of the poetry other than the sacred texts."
Geri Allen cites coming from a strong spiritually-based family, participating in the Madrigals at Cass under Marilyn Jones, Mary Lou's Music For Peace, and her love for the voice as the main elements which helped to pave the way for her sacred jazz suite.
"Music can change the ethers; I know this as I listen to Coltrane's A Love Supreme. Whatever's going on, the music draws the Light. I think that's what this music has always really been about: people finding ways to express the Light even in the midst of darkness, finding a way to it through the power of the Spirit."
Greg Thomas, Article "Geri Allen: Journey to the Light",, USA, August 27, 2009


Trio 3 first convened for Intakt in 2005 when Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille made Time Being, an interesting and episodically excellent record that in retrospect seems compromised by the need to make space for three very powerful and very different musical personalities. The group was featured again with guest Irène Schweizer on a 2007 concert recording from Berne. And now the guest role is taken by Geri Allen, who has a history with all three members, as well as a longer history as a younger or distaff foil to senior players; the breakthrough trios with Paul Motian and Charlie Haden spring to mind.
That one thinks of Allen in this notionally patronizing way is a measure of how oddly inconsistent her recording career has been since she worked with Cyrille on The Printmakers twenty five years ago. The business, Blue Note attention notwithstanding, has never known quite what to do with her enormous but quietly stated talent, and anyone who really wants to take a full measure of her skills probably needs to hunt up sets like this as well as her few available CDs as leader. A recent Telarc contract, while kind to her in terms of piano sound – Telarc engineers know how to make 88 keys sound like an orchestra – hasn’t been the most fruitful creatively.
Allen seems the dominant spirit behind the opening tribute to Alice Coltrane and seems to be channeling Mary Lou Williams on the closing ‘In the Realm . . . of the Child . . . of True Humanity Within (Gospel of Mary)’. She’s less confidently assertive on the two group improvisations, including one dedicated to Intakt producer Patrik Landolt, or less immediately so, for subsequent hearings suggest how confidently she shapes a performance now with fewer and fewer gestures.
One’s doubts about the chemistry that goes to the making of Trio 3 remain largely in place. Lake’s an obliging and accommodating fellow and takes a lovely feature on Eric Dolphy’s flute piece ‘Gazzeloni’. Elsewhere, though, he does sometimes struggle for a place at table. Workman and Cyrille are estimably generous players, but both have so much to say, individually and in cross-talk, that it’s hard for anyone else to get through. The group has obvious festival appeal and the kind of weight to attract interesting collaborators, but it’s hard to see – and hear – this as anything other than a moderately happy mésalliance of combative seniors. That said; would I turn out if they rolled through town? I’d be first in line, and I’ll no doubt be playing At This Time again.
Brian Morton,, Issue 24 - August 2009


Jürg Solothurnmann, Jazz n' More, Schweiz, September/Oktober 2009


Franck Bergerot, Jazzmagazine, France, Septembre 2009


Die beste komplett frei spielende Pianistin aus der Schweiz, eben Irène Schweizer, spielte 2007 in Bern ein Live-Album mit dem konzentriert-impulsiv agierenden Trio Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman und Oliver Lake ein. Das Trio ist hier nun unter ganz anderen musikalischen Vorzeichen mit der Detroiter bzw. nun New Yorker Pianistin Geri Allen zu hören: einmal mehr zeigt sich, wie sich dieses nahezu auf dreischenkeliger Faltung - inklusive aller dialektischen Ausreißer - basierende Trio für balance-anrührende Elemente öffnen kann, ohne dass sich der energetische Spielfluss und das kompositorische Konzept vermindern würde. Erprobt wurde diese Spielart bereits mit der Pianistin Marylin Crispell, die hier demonstrierte Herangehensweise von Allen jedoch führt am tiefsten in die Interaktion von PostBop-Harmonik, Komposition und Improvisation hinein. Das Dolphy-Stück "Gazzeloni" ist historischer Zeuge dafür, die weiteren Stücke sind sehr gereifte akustische Aussagen, Diskussionen und Vorschläge, wie sie nur von äußerst bewussten Spielern praktiziert werden können. Ein definitiver Höhepunkt des zeitgenössischen Jazz. This music is current!
"made my day" by HONKER, TERZ 09.09


The alto saxophonist Oliver Lake, the bassist Reggie Workman and the drummer Andrew Cyrille share an agenda of rugged epiphany. They have pursued that ideal separately over the last four decades, as tireless exponents of the jazz avant-garde. And they have occasionally sought out the same causes together, as a sort of supergroup called Trio 3.
For its brief stand at the Iridium on Thursday and yesterday, that ensemble was rendered numerically incorrect by the addition of a pianist, Geri Allen. (If there was any impulse to adopt temporarily the name Trio 4, no one mentioned it.) The big question was whether the group could fully accommodate another strong voice, without bending in its purpose.
The answer was uncertain during the first couple of songs on Thursday night. “Valley Sketch,” the piece by Mr. Lake that opened the set, felt like a warm-up, as Ms. Allen played vague and tentative chords over a strangely plodding march tempo. Then came a tune with a half-time Latin groove, which still seemed noticeably unsettled.
These issues might have had more to do with basic preparedness than with the presence of Ms. Allen, a member of the first jazz generation to encounter the avant-garde as something other than an insurrection. At 50, she is roughly two decades younger than Mr. Workman and Mr. Cyrille, and roughly a dozen years younger than Mr. Lake: the right age to have absorbed free improvisation as a thread in the canvas of jazz tradition. (It’s no fluke that she is one of the only pianists to have recorded with Ornette Coleman.)
And in any case, it was “Angels,” a brooding theme by Ms. Allen, that snapped the band around. It began as a pianistic rumble, with an attendant rustle of husks and shells. Eventually Mr. Workman set up a syncopated drone, over which Mr. Lake ventured the first of several grippingly intemperate improvisations. Ms. Allen followed with a solo full of flinty jabs, sounding tough enough to invite an unyielding barrage from Mr. Cyrille.
That level of intensity hardly slackened through the rest of the set. On another Latin-flavored piece, Mr. Lake dug into a sequence of mercurial cascades, putting a sharp burr in his tone; when the rhythm shifted into swing for Ms. Allen, she exercised a probing sort of flair. Mr. Workman’s composition “November 1” took the form of an extended tone poem, which occasioned a free-form yet evocatively boppish drum solo.
At times there was no discernable division between Ms. Allen and the established core of Trio 3. And when there was a separation, it felt usefully provocative. The collaboration pushed all parties toward new solutions, and for artists like these, that’s a clear sign of success.
Nate Chinen, THE NEW YORK TIMES, USA, July 17, 2009 (Direct Link)


Chris Joris, Jazzmozaïek, Belgium, Fall 2009


Simon Adams, Jazz Journal, GB, Nov 2009


Peter Margasak, Downbeat, USA, November 2009


Dopo ventitré anni di esistenza, il Trio3 del contraltista Oliver Lake, del contrabbassista Reggie Workman e del batterista Andrew Cyrille si arricchisce di un nuovo partecipante, la pianista Geri Allen.
In realtà, il gruppo nasce non ufficialmente (la vera data d'inizio è il 1988) in occasione di una collaborazione discografica con la pianista Marilyn Crispell nel 1986 e nel 2007 si avvale anche del solismo di una pianista come Irene Schweizer (Berne Concert). La Allen collabora con il gruppo già dal 2008 ed ha sicuramente contribuito ad arricchire e a veicolare in qualche modo più attraente una formula votata a un'improvvisazione non vincolata agli usuali schemi armonici.
Lake, Reggie Workman e Andrew Cyrille costituiscono una sorta di enciclopedia dell'improvvisazione africana-americana degli ultimi quarantacinque/cinquant'anni. Se il valore di interpreti ed esecutori come Workman e Cyrille non può, semplicemente, essere messo in discussione, il più giovane Oliver Lake ha spesso sofferto, nella sua lunga permanenza in un collettivo come il World Saxophone Quartet, di paragoni sfavorevoli rispetto all'indubbia genialità di Julius Hemphill; in qualche modo, per quanto conosciuto e apprezzato, egli rimane un artista drammaticamente sottovalutato o, comunque, non preso sul serio a sufficienza.
Questa incisione esibisce la realtà di uno strumentista, invece, duttile e poetico, capace di imporsi anche come compositore attento al recupero di molti valori tradizionali della cultura africana-americana. Per quanto l'ingresso della Allen in Trio3 abbia conferito un volto più mobile e vario all'improvvisazione organica del complesso (come provano pagine diverse fra di loro come "Swamini" e "In the Realm...of the Child... of True Humanity Within (Gospel of Mary)," vicine alla sensibilità di Alice Coltrane, o la dolphyana "Gazzelloni"), è la personalità schiva di Oliver Lake ad emergere in questa incisione.
Il melodico e raffinato eclettismo della Allen, la sua conoscenza della tradizione, la sua capacità di elaborare un linguaggio complesso e inequivocabilmente legato alla contemporaneità, ma non vincolato ai contesti informali delle avanguardie degli anni Sessanta, sanno imporre ai membri del Trio3 un campo più definito e concreto in cui agire.
E' soprattutto Lake a beneficiarne, mostrandosi espressivo solista anche al flauto in "Tey," lirica composizione firmata da Cyrille. Se un brano come "All Net" percorre le vie dell'improvvisazione più aperta, per quanto priva di sperimentalismi velleitari, una composizione come "Lake's Jump," del pianista Curtis Clark, offre al gruppo la possibilità di riassumere, con bella prova idiomatica e impeccabile senso ritmico, l'intero vocabolario del post-bop.
L'ingresso di un'artista di forte personalità come la Allen ovviamente modifica gli equilibri consolidati del trio: At This Time pare essere, di conseguenza, un'opera di transizione, foriera di nuovi, interessanti sviluppi, come provano "Barbara's Rainbow" e la già citata "In The Realm... Of The Child... Of True Humanity Within (Gospel of Mary)".

Gianni M. Gualberto, All About Jazz Italia, 2009


John Fordham, The Guardian, UK, 16.1.2010


Best of 2009, By Werner Barth, Jazztime, Radio BRF1, Belgium



Allen’s rapturous piano is immediately recognizable on AT THIS TIME, an album of (mostly) dedications. The opening tribute to the late Alice Coltrane is a perfectly recognizable vehicle pairing Lake’s somewhat sharp horn work with the pianist’s bright, fulsome sound. This is another superb group, whose meetings with pianists of late may be slightly less known to readers. They are still able to shift their inflections in the space of a measure, moving from ragged to poised or from hushed to hollering, all without sounding unfocused. They follow with a pretty intense, and almost punchy reading of the Dolphy tune, with Allen and Cyrille riding the wave majestically, and Lake soaring as if catapulted by the big rubbery punctuations from Workman. When they’re not exulting in such exultant moments, the band is similarly resourceful. I marvel at how beautiful and completely effortless is their use of extended techniques—grit and wood—on “For Patrik L.” There’s nothing perfunctory about it, just meaningful sound, with Allen’s percussive inside work the linchpin. But for the most part, the tunes are about joyful energy. Check the brief flitting “All Net,” a Lake number that’s as hot as a point guard in the zone, the big gospel chords on “Current,” the lively dance of “Barbara’s Rainbow” (with hand percussion and a jagged high-life theme), or “Tey,” with dark tonalities and marvelous flute work from Lake. The record goes from strength to strength, but perhaps best of all is their reading of Curtis Clark’s “Lake’s Jump,” with echoes of “Epistrophy” and a crisp Cyrille/Workman swing that’s outrageously good. Get some.
Jason Bivins, Cadence, USA, Apr - May - Jun 2010


Chris Searle, Morning Star, Great Britain, May 18, 2010


Geri Allen folgt Irène Schweizer nach. Die gute alte Tradition des klavierlosen Trios wird ein anderes Mal weitergesponnen. Allen hat ja viel zu sagen. Sie bringt den Blues (nicht, dass den die anderen Männer des Trios nicht hätten, aber eben nicht so explizit) mit, das besondere Gefühl für drinnen und draußen. Sie ist weniger Architektin als Baumeisterin und Generalunternehmerin der Band. Gleich beim ersten Titel (einer Eigenkomposition von Allen) hört man, wie wichtig sie ist, ohne sich eitel in den Vordergrund zu drängen. ‚Gazzeloni‘, eine Komposition von Eric Dolphy, klingt, als wäre sie von Monk. Das ist ja kein Manko. Schön: das harmlos beginnende und dann in wilde Stakkato-Attacken mündende Saxofonspiel von Oliver Lake. Auch bei der Schlussnummer, einem wundervollen Gospelstück von Geri Allen, wird diese elegante Pianistin von den alten Männern des freien Spieles in den Vordergrund gebeten. ‚Current‘ von Reggie Workman ist von mitreißender Energie, ‚Lake’s Jump‘ ein vertrackter, verschmitzter Gassenhauer von fröhlichem Ursprung. Resumée: eine unterhaltsame CD, die ihre besondere Spannung aus dem Zusammenspiel des altbewährten Trios mit der jungen (*1957) Lady am Klavier erzielt.
mitter, Freistil, Österreich 2010


Artikel über Reggie Workman, Arne Reimer, Jazzthing, Deutschland, Juni/Juli/August 2011

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