Live at the Loft

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Editor's info:
Live at the Loft is the second CD-release from this highly acclaimed trio. Live at the Loft is a concert recording from The Loft, Cologne 2005 showing some of the trios free improvised and adventurous ways in and out of dense intensity and spacious beauty. - ocena * * * * *:
This is the second release by Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker with her trio with Craig Taborn on piano and Gerald Cleaver on drums. The concept that started on the first album, "Tryptich", comes to fruition on this live date, and takes the concept a notch higher. Gone are the high-toned nervousness, and some of the density of the improvisations, making room for slower, warmer, more deeply felt and opener structures, and it works to perfection. Anker delves deep into the nature of music, stripping it of all its mannerisms, patterns and clear melodic lines, revealing a subtle, sensitive, melodic emotional nakedness, fragile and beautiful, intense and heartfelt. Taborn and Cleaver provide the ideal support and interaction, enjoying the subtleties, reinforcing the emotional depth, adding perspective and color, but leaving the center stage to Anker, whose calm presence defines the music. On "Magic Carpet", the long first track, she moves the music from calm, almost contemplative moments to increasing levels of intensity towards the end, but without raising her voice, or without losing the sensitivity, drawing Taborn and Cleaver into her realm of fast little sounds, who echo her, join her, then take over for two consecutive solos, compact, efficient, but great. The equally long second piece starts again in the faintest of modes, with barely audible sax notes vibrating in the air, floating sensitively, encountering their counterparts from the piano and finger-played drums, dancing around each other rhythmically, but then one without recognizable pattern. And out of this almost-silence erupt some gut-wrenching agonizing wails, slowly, plaintively, and then listen how Taborn takes over, capturing the idea, playing around with the implicit rhythm for a wild yet light piano excursion, and when Lotte Anker joins, she moves the piece back to slowness, stretching her notes, laying a quiet blanket on top of the rhythmical frenzy that Cleaver starts creating, followed in that by Taborn, leading to a strange musical contrast between the rhythm section and the tenor, the one hectic, the other slow. The last piece, "Berber", brings again this strange mixture of abstract and deeply emotional music, demonstrating that in the right hands and ears, musical purity in all its polished rawness, in all its real sensitivity, devoid of fake feelings, averse of false pretention, is not a vague dream, but a real possibility. Free form unleashes true feelings. An absolutely stunning performance.

PS: Some weeks ago I thought that the financial crisis had hit the music industry, because the incoming flow of new music was lessening, as was the quality, but now, I have to revise my opinion. Last week saw some wonderful records being released, and this one is certainly among the highlights.
By Stef

The Beatles’ “Please Please Me” ran just two minutes and three seconds because that’s all John, Paul, George and Ringo needed to say what they had to say. This is the same reason “Magic Carpet,” from saxophonist Lotte Anker, pianist Craig Taborn and drummer Gerald Cleaver, clocks in at 26:38-they need every second of it.

“Magic Carpet,” the first half of the trio’s second album, Live at the Loft, unfurls patiently and ever so gradually. Anker exhales a few long breaths into her horn. Cleaver drags a stick across a cymbal. Taborn plucks a piano string. Minutes later, the symbiosis evolves into a series of serpentine runs. The three are listening to one another as intently as anyone in the business of music has ever done. And listen they must: Their music is completely free-they took the stage in Cologne, Germany, on June 22, 2005, with no written scores and no preconceived notions.

Over the 26 minutes and 38 seconds of “Magic Carpet” the musicians traverse several peaks and valleys, covering a range of terrains and textures. There is a wonderful passage in the ninth minute where Anker digs into a little phrase she finds, going over it once and again. Taborn, for his part, unearths a perfect little cluster right at the 20-minute mark, and then he engages in a taut exchange with Cleaver as the song heads toward its conclusion. The second track, “Real Solid,” lasts just over 20 minutes and is markedly different-Taborn employs a lot of staccato and Anker puts extra vibrato in her sax, giving the music a shaky sensation. The finale is a tiny little piece, not much more than eight minutes long. That’s all they needed.
By Steve Greenlee


Ilk Records (DK)
Lotte Anker / Craig Taborn / Gerald Cleaver
Live at the Loft
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