|Daniel Levin Trio |
A remix on the sax-bass-drums format, the Daniel Levin Trio was formed in December 2007 to explore the mixture of a free-jazz sensibility with that of chamber music. The band consists of Levin on cello, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on bass, and Frank Rosaly on drums. Upon the first meeting of the three musicians, a strong rapport was evident, and a deep trust of one another developed very quickly over several performances.
With this as their foundation, the band is able to take their music to previously unexplored terrain, as well as to go deep in to the areas of the ballad, the uptempo free-jazz burner, the folk song, and other as-yet- undefined genres.
The band’s first cd, "Fuhuffah" was released on CLEAN FEED in November, 2008.
Daniel Levin began playing the cello at age six. He has performed and/or recorded with Billy Bang, Borah Bergman, Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Rob Brown, Whit Dickey, Mark Dresser, Joe Morris, Joe McPhee, William Parker, Warren Smith, and others. Daniel has recorded as a sideman for Clean Feed, EMANEM, Not Two, and RogueART, and as a leader, for Riti Records, HatHut, and Clean Feed."Levin has a sound that ranges from subtle and understated to aggressive; with admirable technique as a performer and a compositional concept that blends structure with freewheeling exploration, he deserves to have his name added to the short list of cellists who are making a mark in improvisational music.” - All About Jazz Magazine
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten has for many years been an important jazz musician in Norway. Besides doing solo performances and leading his own quintet, he performs with the groups Atomic, The Thing (w/Mats Gustafson), Scorch Trio (w/Raoul Bjoerkenheim), Free Fall (w/Ken Vandermark), Paal Nilssen- Love Quartet (w/Evan Parker and Sten Sandel) and The Electrics (w/Axel Dörner, Sture Ericson and Raymond Strid). In addition, Ingebrigt has played with great improvisers and musicians such as Peter Brötzman, Paul Lytton, Dave Liebman, Fred Anderson, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jim Baker, Jeb Bishop, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Yusef Lateef, Tony Oxley, Dr.L.Subramaniam, Billy Cobham, Joshua Redman, Chris Potter and Zim Ngquana, to mention a few.
Frank Rosaly is a drummer and composer currently living in Chicago.
He has been involved in the improvised and experimental music community for 10 years where he has become an integral part of the Chicago scene,navigating a fine line between the vibrant improvised music, indy-rock, experimental and jazz communities. He contributes much of his time to performing, composing, as well as organizing musical events, while also touring regularly domestically and internationally. Performances in the recent past include collaborations with Peter Brotzmann, Tony Malaby, Anthony Coleman, Paul Flaherty, Marshall Allen, Louis Moholo, Eric Boeren, Ken Vandermark, Michael Zerang, Walter Weirbos, among many others.
Fuhuffah is a departure of sorts for cellist Daniel Levin. His fourth recording as a leader dispenses with the chamber oriented instrumentation of his regular quartet (with bass, trumpet and vibraphone), in favor of a more conventional line-up. Accompanied by Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten and drummer Gerald Cleaver, Levin leads his trio through six original and one traditional tune that ebb and flow with previously untapped vigor.
Encapsulating a broad range of dynamics, this session occasionally veers into the somber atmospheres of Levin's quartet albums while pushing further into vivacious rhythmic territory. The propulsive bass patterns of Flaten and the lively percussive interjections of Cleaver provide ample forward momentum, yet there is no shortage of tonal subtlety. Levin and Flaten utilize every string technique available to them, plucking and bowing with unfettered resolve, while Cleaver demonstrates sublime nuance, using both sticks and brushes with dexterous finesse. Like a warning shot, Levin opens the album's title track with a harsh descending motif that plummets into a thicket of dissonant intervals and jagged angles constructed from fervid double stops, bright pizzicato and strident harmonics, while Flaten's hyperkinetic bass chases Cleaver's restless trap set through a labyrinthine maze. "Shape" is an exceptional study in rhythm; a slinky swinger driven by a cool, grooving bass line and a funky, insistent hi-hat that fuels a slew of sonorous cadences from the leader, as well as a lyrical closing statement from Flaten. "Metaphor" finds Levin embarking on a series of plangent excursions supported by Cleaver's discerning cymbal accents and Flaten's hypnotic bass ostinato. Brimming with emotional catharsis, the traditional tune "Hangman" is delivered as a haunting dirge. Levin's strident bowing invokes the tune's mordant lyrics with heartrending intensity. "Woods" is equally fervent; Levin and Flaten weave sinuous arco phrases into resonant overtones.
Delving into free territory, "Open" showcases the trio in a texturally rich pointillist improvisation, while "Wiggle" closes the album with a passionate tribute to saxophonist Jimmy Lyons. Negotiating harsh angles at a breakneck tempo, Levin bows with manic virtuosity while Flaten and Cleaver push relentlessly forward, each taking individual solo statements in turn. A vibrant and assertive detour from his usual chamber oriented quartet offerings, Fuhuffah offers another facet of Levin's growing abilities as an improviser and writer of note.
By Troy Collins