When it's time to make music, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia, and contrabassist Bertram Turetzky each have a story to tell. Smith's tenure in creative improvisation dates from the heyday of the AACM, Chicago's pioneering DIY collective, which changed the shape of jazz in the late '60s. A Rastafarian and mystical poet, Smith often blows with a Miles Davis-like cool and virtually embodies the values of silence and space. Formerly a visual artist, Golia began tuning his acute sense of color and texture toward sound about 20 years back. A virtuosic composer/improviser on multiple saxophones, clarinets, flutes, and various ethnic wind instruments, he paints stunning aural abstractions of many moods. Bertram Turetzky -- a UCSD professor and arguably Southern California's godfather of the upright bass -- has a repertoire that ranges from classical to free improv. His performances are always evenhanded, accomplished with the elegance of a master player.
On Prataksis, the dynamic recorded document of this trio's debut meeting, the individual voices are clear from the very start: There's Smith's meditative sustained pitches, Golia's vivid near-bop lyricism, Turetzky's impossibly poised arco. Despite the varied languages and temperaments, a confluence of ideas drives each improvised piece, from the kaleidoscopic optimism of "And the Future Became Fluid" to the lateral logic of "Fractured Laws." The distinctive characters of the players are subsumed into the composite character of the group, which yields to the contours of the music emerging in the moment.
-- Sam Prestianni
The Smith/Golia/Turetzky Trio performs at "New Music on the Mountain" with Rova Saxophone Quartet, Pauline Oliveros, and the Miya Masaoka/Mark Izu Duo on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 2 p.m. at the Mountain Theater on Mount Tamalpais. Tickets are $5-10; call 487-1701.