Sunday, December 09, 2018

CD Review: Josh Sinton Predicate Trio - making bones, taking draughts, bearing unstable millstones pridefully, idiotically, prosaically

Josh Sinton's Predicate Trio
making bones, taking draughts, bearing unstable millstones pridefully, idiotically, prosaically

Josh Sinton just came to Pittsburgh recently, as part of Adam Hopkins' Crickets project. Like everyone else in that band, he has a number of his own musical irons in the fire. Earlier this year he released Krasa, an album of vicious solos on an amplified contra-bass clarinet. He has also lead Ideal Bread, the quartet that plays the music of Steve Lacy. The hook, so to speak, with that band is that no one plays Lacy's instrument, the soprano saxophone. Sinton plays baritone, as well as bass clarinet. Both are utilized on this session, recorded with cellist Christopher Hoffman (also a member of Henry Threadgill's groups) and drummer Tom Rainey.

The album has an open feeling while it simultaneously maintains a strong sense of direction. This happens in "Bell-ell-ell-ell-ells." Rainey charts a loose course underneath Sinton's ruminations which initially have a tonal quality that feels like a ballad. For a brief moment he delivers some upper register notes that sound like a trumpet. Hoffman enters and Sinton steps back to give him room, only to reemerge mid-way through the nine-minute track with a riff that sounds like a theme. As it turns out, it functions more as a cue that leads to more interesting transitions.

Sinton has written music for dance and theater and that experience can be felt in the thoughtful "A Dance." Hoffman begins playing plucked cello, crisply getting harmonics to ring in a few spots. When the trio comes together, the cellist alternates between bowing and plucking. Their work nods to Julius Hemphill's trio with cellist Abdul Wadud, but the subdued, probing quality of the work evokes a looser version of Chico Hamilton's early groups. They work in a freer direction without leaving the melodic framework behind.

With the next track,"Blockblockblock," they shift gears. Sinton and Hoffman volley some stop-start blasts between baritone and cello. The action continues into "Unreliable Mirrors," this time with bass clarinet. Again, freedom kicks it off, and the trio presents some fine reasons that this style. With that in mind, the session also includes a couple spontaneous improvs. Rainey, who has recorded numerous albums on his own and with people like Tim Berne and Ingrid Laubrock, plays all over his kit and always seems to have the perfect accents to help the group take flight.

The album's mouthful of a title came about when Sinton created an anagram with the titles of the nine tracks. It shows a devotion to his work that reverberates after the album is done, leaving these inventive performances in mind.

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